The unique investment fund acquired and converted a former steel plant to give Lighthouse Academies its first school site in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
City leaders including Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett joined Andre Agassi, Bobby Turner and other executives of the Canyon‐Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund (CACSFF) to celebrate the opening of North Point Lighthouse Charter School, a new school in the Thurston Woods neighborhood dedicated to preparing underserved students to succeed in college.
North Point Lighthouse Charter School is the first school site in Milwaukee to be opened by Lighthouse Academies, a network of 21 high‐performing charter schools in six states and the District of Columbia. The school is located in a former steel fabrication plant that has been renovated into a modern facility that will serve 240 students from pre‐kindergarten to fourth grade when classes begin next month.
CACSFF partnered with Lighthouse Academies to identify, renovate and lease the facility at 4200 West Douglas Avenue, which will eventually serve 460 students through eighth grade at maturity in 2016. The school includes 18 classrooms, science labs and office space in a two‐story, 40,000‐square‐foot building.
A separate facility for students in grades 9‐12 is expected to be built on the 3.7‐acre site in the future. The project marks the second investment by CACSFF, an innovative real estate fund that provides much‐needed capital to allow operators of best‐in‐class charter schools to secure permanent, high‐quality school facilities.
“Successful charter schools offer tremendous promise for the future of American education. Our goal is to ensure that best‐in‐class charter operators have long‐term access to excellent facilities that help students thrive,” said Bobby Turner, CACSFF Co‐Managing Partner and Chairman and CEO of Canyon Capital Realty Advisors. “Lighthouse Academies has a track record of innovation and achievement, and we are fully confident that North Point Lighthouse Charter School will deliver terrific results for students in the Thurston Woods neighborhood.”
The only fund of its kind in the United States, CACSFF was created in 2011 as a joint venture between
Canyon Capital Realty Advisors (CCRA) and Agassi Ventures (AV) to facilitate the development of school sites in urban communities across the United States. The partnership combines CCRA’s and AV’s substantial resources, development expertise and passion for educational excellence to assist the charter school community in securing academically friendly, environmentally sustainable school facilities for students and teachers. Charter schools are growing at a 14.5 percent annual rate, and operators routinely cite securing suitable learning facilities as one of their greatest challenges.
“I believe that we must do everything we can to support strong schools in underserved communities. By helping Lighthouse Academies continue to grow, we are enabling more students to benefit from these innovative alternatives to traditional public schools,” said Andre Agassi, CACSFF Co‐Managing Partner, CEO of Agassi Ventures and founder of the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy. “This is exactly the kind of high‐quality, high‐impact project we envisioned when we started the Canyon‐Agassi Charter
School Facilities Fund.”
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett thanked North Point Lighthouse Charter School for becoming an educational option for North Side families in Milwaukee.
“Milwaukee is home to many high‐quality schools, but our concerns remain about many of our students who are struggling to keep up,” Mayor Barrett said. “Lighthouse Academies is positioned to help serve students who need our support by strengthening our school communities. We welcome North Point
Lighthouse Charter School as another partner in ensuring Milwaukee children receive the education they need to succeed.”