Two schools get a new charter tenant; not a new owner (yet)

The Business Journal reported yesterday afternoon that Milwaukee College Prep – an MPS non-instrumentality charter (that means they are MPS schools but are not staffed by MPS employees) – will purchase Lloyd Street School and 38th Street School from the district.

MPS media manager Phil Harris told me this morning that at the moment he has heard nothing about the sale of the buildings.

“It is my understanding that they are leased with an option to buy,” he said.

MCP Principal Robert Rauh also denied reports of a purchase.

“Correct,” he wrote in an email, “MPS is leasing the buildings to MCP with an option to buy.”

While 38th Street has been vacant, Lloyd only recently became surplus when the school board voted this spring to merge it with Hopkins Street School to create Hopkins Lloyd Community School.

Milwaukee College Prep will now have three campuses: Metcalfe Park, 2449 N. 36th St; a new charter school at 38th St. School, 2623 N. 38th St.; and the campus at Lloyd Street, 1228 W. Lloyd St., which was previously located in Lindsay Heights. Each has an enrollment capacity of 500.

Last year, Lloyd had an enrollment around 440 pre-K through grade five students, according to Great Schools.

The Business Journal reported the purchases were part of a $9 million capital campaign.

For now, Rauh says, there is no plan to purchase the buildings.

“Right now our focus is solely on getting the two buildings ready for the fall, fully enrolled and staffed,” he said.

“It’s nice to have options down the road and we will begin to consider those once the dust has settled.”

Here are some facts about the school buildings:

  • Lloyd Street has 28 classrooms and 38th Street School has 25 classrooms and a lab.
  • Lloyd has 69,553 square feet and 38th Street 103,892 square feet of building space.
  • Neither of the former MPS buildings is air conditioned.
  • Lloyd Street, built in 1910, has a replacement cost of $17,131,026 and estimates put a replacement cost on 38th Street School, built in 1911, at $25.5 million.

In addition to a presumed infusion of cash, MPS would save a fair bit on maintenance if MCP exercised its option to buy the two buildings:

  • As part of its Master Facilities Plan report released on June 30, MPS was looking at $887,400 in maintenance costs at Lloyd Street School between now and 2016. Add in expected maintenance costs of another $176,100 over the following five years and a $4.3 million upgrade to electrical and plumbing systems and the addition of air conditioning and the “Total Need” for the maintenance of the building is estimated at $5.4 million.
  • For 38th Street School, the projected maintenance costs run even higher. Including the next decade of upkeep and the systems upgrades, the estimate is $7.5 million.

But, of course, MCP knows that MPS’ savings would become its expenses. So, it will be interesting to see what transpires down the road.

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