St. Augustine’s

Elle Flock, Staff Writer

The Impact of St. Augustine’s

On February 1, 2017 open-enrollment will begin for students hoping to attend St. Augustine’s school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The four-story tall private school is being built on the 14th Aldermanic District, south of W. Harrison Ave. and to the east and west of S. 5th St., in an area of heavy impoverishment. The neighborhoods surrounding this location have some of the highest crime rates and lowest household incomes in the city, meaning St. Augustine’s presents many students with never-before seen opportunities to catch up on and improve their education in a safe environment.

While the school does have high-cost admission fees, its foundation as a voucher school will allow for easy and free access to students who apply. A school voucher is a government-funded voucher redeemable for tuition fees to a private school, and the implementation of this system at St. Augustine’s will allow students to attend regardless of financial situation.

In addition to this advantage, because the institution is not considered a public school, they are not required to abide by strict educational guidelines. Instead, teachers will apply new, innovative learning techniques designed to fit each individual student. For those who have had a rough start with education, the personalized approach of these tactics will make it considerably easier to catch up to their peers and advance at their own pace.

The establishment mainly associated with this project is AEE LLC. Pushing these plans forward, with the help of backers like Gus Ramirez who donated $40 million to the project, the company has unveiled the two phases of construction for the school.

The first phase of this project involves the development of a four-story tall building. It contains up to 185,000 square feet of room and could possibly hold over 1,000 students. Alongside facilities constructed for academics, a gymnasium and outdoor areas will be put into place for student and public use. This phase of construction is nearly completed, and by the end of 2017 should be open to students in grades  k-8.

The second phase of construction will add another 100,000 square feet to St. Augustine’s. This addition would increase the student capacity to 2,000 (nearly doubling it), allowing for students grades k-12 to attend. Beyond this, the addition of a swimming pool and auditorium are likely possibilities. While this phase will not be completed until around 2022, these plans suggest that the school will only improve with time.

Overall, while St. Augustine’s has not yet opened its doors, it is predicted to have a high impact on its community by bringing new opportunities for its students.