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One City Schools to purchase new building for $12 million, expand to serve pre-k through high school


One City Schools’ Board of Directors announced plans on Tuesday night to purchase a 157,000-square-foot facility for $12 million from WPS Health Solutions to serve as the permanent home for its K-12 public charter schools. The purchase was made possible by a generous donation of $14 million by Madison philanthropist Pleasant Rowland, the founder and initial owner of the American Girl corporation.

“This is an extraordinary moment for One City Schools, for the greater Madison community, and for Wisconsin,” said Kaleem Caire, One City founder and CEO, in a statement. “As a city and state that has maintained the largest school achievement gap in the country between Black and White students for at least two decades, Ms. Rowland’s tremendous contribution gives us the opportunity to continue with our mission to seed a new model of public education that ensures young children are on track to succeed in a college or career preparatory program from birth through high school graduation.”

One City Schools will transform this Monona office building into its new school.

One City Prep will offer a unique Early College and Career Preparatory Program that will enable students to complete credits towards earning associates and bachelor’s degrees, and industry certifications, beginning in ninth grade, at no expense to its students, according to a press release from One City. Beginning in 6th grade, building on its current project-based learning model, students will begin exploring careers, addressing community and social issues, and considering new ideas and solutions to problems confronting education, business, industry and society.

One City Elementary School currently enrolls 167 children in its preschool and elementary school and will add third and fourth grades this fall. One City has also been conditionally approved by its charter school authorizer, the University of Wisconsin System’s Office of Educational Opportunity, to open its 6-12 grade One City Preparatory Academy in September 2022.

Rowland had previously donated $5 million to One City’s operating budget in 2019. The four-story building that will house the new school is located at 1707 W. Broadway in Monona.