Early last year, the Milwaukee Board of School Directors hired Bay View-based Foundation Architects to design an addition at Fernwood Montessori School, 3239 S. Pennsylvania Ave., also in Bay View.
By last summer, the work on the new 21,566-square foot addition, with eight classrooms, a gym, an entry atrium and more, was underway. In December, I posted aÂ progress report.
Today, I spent a little time with architect Craig Eide and school principal John Sanchez touring the new building, which is expected to be complete by mid-July, with furniture arriving in August, for a Sept. 1 first day of school.
The project â€“ estimated to cost $9.6 million â€“ also includes an elevator, making the 1920s building completely ADA accessible for the first time. Modifications to accommodate the elevator will shrink four classrooms, which will be transformed into other useful spaces (such as special education rooms and the like).
Other work in the existing building will expand the cafeteria â€“ which has traditionally done double duty as a gym, too â€“ move the library, create a community room and turn the former library back into a classroom space to accommodate what Sanchez says will be an enrollment of nearly 750 students (up from about 720 this past year).
A couple of the new classrooms won't be used this first year, but Sanchez says growth at the adolescent level will fill one of the rooms next year and the other the year after. The school, which has been rated by the state as "exceeding expectations" for a number of years, is one of the most sought-after in the district.
Ground was broken earlier this month on a more modest, five-room addition at MPS' Maryland Avenue Montessori School, another school that exceeded expectations on last year's state report card, on the East Side. Work is underway at the site and expected to be completed in time for the start of the 2017-18 academic year.
Here are some photos of the work at Fernwood, taken today...