Michigan company proposing 45,000 square-foot charter school in Village of Waukesha

Charter school operator National Heritage Academies is looking to construct a 45,000-square-foot charter school on a 25.64-acre property near the northeast corner of Highway 164 and Lawnsdale Road.


The land is currently planned for commercial use, but representatives with National Heritage Academies want the land use map to be changed to designate the parcel’s future use as governmental/institution.

The Grand Rapids-based company operates 98 schools across nine states, according to its website, serving more than 60,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade, and wants to open a 45,000-square-foot school here.

The for-profit company currently has one school in Wisconsin, Milwaukee Scholars in Milwaukee, which operates under a charter from UW-Milwaukee.

NHA is still in the process of applying for a second charter through UW-Milwaukee that would allow them to open a kindergarten-8th grade school in the village, said Robert Dunston, who works in real estate acquisitions for NHA. But company officials are hoping the school will be constructed in time to welcome students for the 2022-23 school year.

Asked why the company wanted to open its next charter school in the Village of Waukesha, Dunston said company studies found there was demand in the area.

Under the company’s proposal, the school would be buffered by four commercial out lots, which would be situated closer to the busy intersection. The school would be located farther east on Lawnsdale Road, closer to its intersection with Big Bend Road.

NHA would sell off the out lots as they are developed, company representatives said. At its capacity the school would serve 772 students and 60 staff members. The school would start out serving students in grades kindergarten through 5th or 6th grade, adding an additional grade per year, until they are serving students through 8th grade.

Because the school is run by a for-profit company, it will be paying property taxes.

The Plan Commission and Village Board are slated to consider NHA’s land use map amendment request when they meet at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday.