MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- St. Marcus School in Milwaukee announced on Monday, December 8th that it has purchased the former Centro Educacional Aurora Weier Center. The center is located four blocks north of St. Marcus on Center Street between Hubbard and Richards Streets.
St. Marcus has leased the center since August.
"The advantage of ownership is it just gives a sense of permanence," St. Marcus School Superintendent Henry Tyson said.
Officials with St. Marcus say the newly acquired building and lot will now allow a full site feasibility study to be conducted with a vision to serve as another community resource facility for school families and neighborhood residents. This site will continue to expand and grow to serve over 250 students from three year olds to fourth-graders over the next three years. St. Marcus plans to serve over 1,000 students and their families between both campuses by 2017-2018.
"We certainly had to do cosmetic work but we could turn it around quite quickly," Tyson said.
The acquisition of the Centro Educacional Aurora Weier Center officially closed on Thursday, December 4th.
The former Aurora Weier building was once a public swimming facility and then a site of a small high school that served “at risk” students that operated through a charter with Milwaukee Public Schools. It was the brainchild of Aurora Weier, who saw education as the solution for many of the problems impacting Latino communities.
The news of this purchase comes after St. Marcus tried to purchase the former Malcolm X Academy building from Milwaukee Public Schools. MPS had other plans for that building.
Elayna Thompson was on a waiting list for St. Marcus School and is excited about this purchase and expansion.
"There was the concern like 'what actually are we going to do?' She would be in a completely different school system on the opposite side of town," Elayna's parents, Eric and Adrianne Thompson said.
This expansion allows Elayna and her three-year-old brother to be in the same school system.
"Glory be to God we are here. We really wanted them to be in a place where they`re learning the exact same things," Eric and Adrianne Thompson said.
The building has already reached capacity for students, and there's a waiting list for next year. Superintendent Tyson says there are plans to expand this building.
The building and its expansion plans cost around $500,000. The purchase was made in cash with money raised through foundations and individual donations.