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Madison, Wis., charter school finds new home in office building

Oct. 12, 2020
One City Schools has converted the first floor of an office building into elementary classrooms.

A charter school in Madison, Wis., has converted the first floor of a local office building into a new home for the school.

The Capital Times reports that One City Schools in Madison quickly converted the office space into classrooms after signing a lease for the space.

Principal Faren D’Abell says the leadership of the charter school signed a lease Aug. 28 after a search for new space.

“We didn’t know where we were going to be,” D’Abell says. “We looked at potentially having school in Penn Park, at least when it was still warm, and having tents. We looked at mobile classrooms."

One City opened in 2015 with preschool and 4- and 5-year-old kindergarten. It now has students from age 2 through second grade, split between two sites. The new space is set up for 101 students in grades K to 2;  40 of them are learning remotely.

The school had planned to be part of the planned Center for Black Excellence and Culture proposed for the city’s south side. However, the timing of the project and complications created by the pandemic led the school to abandon those plans.

One City founder Kaleem Caire says the pandemic and its aftermath will make it difficult for the school to raise money for its own campus.

“Together, we decided it was best for One City to focus on a different strategy and location for our elementary school considering we had an immediate need for a facility that could potentially become our permanent solution in the future,” Caire says.  

When it became clear the plan to have the new One City building on the site of that Center for Black Excellence and Culture would not work in time for this year, and given the challenges of the pandemic, school officials looked for another option and found it at the last minute in an Urban Land Interests office building.

One City Schools is leasing 20,000 square feet on the first floor of a building at 450 Coyier Lane for $37,500 per month. The building has no other tenants, and One City has a one-year option to extend its lease. 

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