At Escuela Verde in Milwaukee, students often fulfill the required 50 hours of community service by participating in sustainability-focused activities organized by the charter school. So it’s no surprise students and staff are excited that their new, larger facility puts them within walking distance of such resources as Urban Ecology Center Menomonee Valley, the Wisconsin Bike Federation, Three Bridges Park, and Arlington Park.
The 10,800-square-foot building doubles the size of the school’s interior learning space, creates outdoor green space, and creates a sustainable property in keeping with the school’s mission. Small by design with only 100 kids in grades 7-12, EV has moved to the Layton Boulevard West neighborhood, where most of its students live. The school is in a zip code identified by an IFF study as a high-need area where nearly 4,000 children cannot access a high-performing high school.
In partnership with PAVE, IFF provided a $1.5 million loan to pay for buying and renovating the space, which has an open, flexible floor plan conducive to EV’s project-based learning. IFF also managed the initial site search, assisted with the purchase contract, performed a financial feasibility study, and supported capital planning. During construction, IFF also served as the project manager.
EV is the first school opened under TransCenter for Youth’s “umbrella charter” with the city of Milwaukee. TCY, considered one of the most successful models of its kind in the nation by the Center for Urban Community Development at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, has served at-risk students in Milwaukee since 1973 and operates two public Partnership schools, one private Choice school and one charter school.