cristoreywaukegan Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep
A former Kmart is now Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep

Former Kmart store in Waukegan, Ill., converted to high school

Big-box space is new home for Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep

A vacant big-box store in Waukegan, Ill., is now home to a Catholic high school.

The Daily Herald reports that the building, which had been a Kmart, has been transformed into the new home for Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep after officials raised $18.5 million for the adaptive reuse project. 

The school's 400 students began classes this week in their new space.

Cristo Rey occupies 53,000 square feet of the former retail complex. It has 18 classrooms, three science laboratories, a cafeteria, library commons area and administrative offices The school plans to add more laboratories, fine arts facilities, a gym, chapel and additional athletic amenities in the future.

Cristo Rey is part of a national network of 32 schools. When it opened in 2004 with 95 students, it was the first Catholic high school to open in Lake County, Ill., in 50 years.

The school was previously housed in leased space at the former St. Joseph Parish complex in Waukegan.

The architect is JGMA and the builder is McShane Construction Company.

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