Once complete, the 99,000 square foot high school can support up to 900 students
The Hmong American Peace Academy celebrated the construction progress of its new 99,000 square foot high school on its main campus at 4601 N. 84th Street in Milwaukee’s Lindsay Park neighborhood. Construction began this summer and is expected to be complete by August 2021.
Joining Chris Her-Xiong, founder and executive director of HAPA, for the socially-distanced event were Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Alderwoman Nikiya Dodd, Milwaukee Development Commissioner Lafayette Crump, City of Milwaukee Housing Authority Executive Director Tony Pérez, HAPA Board Chair and Northwestern Mutual executive Jason Handal, among others.
“Today is about more than a building,” said Chris Her-Xiong, founder and executive director of the Hmong American Peace Academy. “Rather, it is about the promise we are making to our scholars, their families, and our broader community that a high quality education – especially one filled with abundant love, joyfulness, and high expectations – can transform lives and lead the way out of poverty and into a prosperous life of service. By taking the courageous step forward to build a high school designed to best support our scholars academic and extracurricular pursuits, we are underscoring our ambition to become one of the very best schools in Wisconsin.”
Once complete, the high school will contain 38 modern classrooms designed for a 21st Century education, and will feature a 16,000 square foot gymnasium, along with a multi-purpose resource center with a student-run café that will offer valuable opportunities for budding entrepreneurs to gain firsthand experience running a business. The school will also house a museum dedicated to Hmong history and culture, as well as dedicated college and career resource centers, high school and HAPA administration offices, and professional development facilities for teachers and staff. Imbedded throughout the school will be references to Hmong culture, including in the selection of interior materials, finishes, and lighting. The hallways and expansive wall spaces have been designed to exhibit Hmong artwork, artifacts, and traditional style clothing as an extension of the school’s formal cultural museum space.
VJS Construction Services is the general contractor for the project; Continuum is serving as the architect and planner; and Travaux is the owners representative.
“All that HAPA has achieved has been done quietly, humbly, and deliberately, through careful planning and the dedicated work of the leadership team, educators, staff, families and of course, our scholars,” said Jason Handal, board chair of the Hmong American Peace Academy. “Together, we are building a community of peace builders and life-long learners filled with the self-determination to fully realize the blessings of freedom and prosperity their parents and grandparents fought so hard to achieve.”