A new school geared toward students in sixth through 12th grades interested in the nursing profession could open in Wauwatosa as soon as the 2016-17 academic year.

Global Nurse Leaders Academy, a school that aims to prepare students for further studies — and ultimately careers — in nursing through curricula that focus on health and wellness concepts, has requested a conditional use permit to open doors at 2520 North Wauwatosa Ave.

The proposed site previously housed St. Pius School for more than 50 years until it merged with St. Bernard in 2011 to form Wauwatosa Catholic School.

If approved, Global Nurse Leaders Academy would operate as part of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, but would accept a limited number of tuition-paying students who exceed the choice program family income standards or who do not reside in Milwaukee, according to documents submitted to the city. Further, per state law, for at least the first three years of school operation, the applicant will be limited to enrolling students under the Choice Program to only residents of Milwaukee, according to the documents.

'The School Choice Program is not really anything to be afraid of, it's here to stay,' said attorney Brian Randall, who is representing the applicant.

United to Serve Academy, a K-8 school that receives state funding for all of its students through the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, hoped to move to the location, but its request for a conditional use program was rejected by the Wauwatosa Common Council last year.

According to city documents, Global Nurse Leaders Academy is not affiliated with United to Serve.

Middle school curriculum will focus on key health and wellness concepts. The high school's academic focus would be for students wishing to enter the nursing profession. Upon graduation, students will earn a diploma and a Wisconsin Certified Nurse Aide designation, according to city documents.

Approximately 50 students in grades six through eight would be enrolled at the school. Each successive year, a high school grade would be added, with a total enrollment of about 450 students in the 2019-20 school year.

Proposed hours for the school are from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, with extracurricular activities in the evening and on weekends.

Co-founder and CEO Board Chair of the school, Edna Hudson, said she's worked as a nurse for 20 years, and began teaching nursing about 10 years ago. The vision for opening such a school came from her aunt, who used to tutor aspiring nurses in her Illinois home, she said.

The school would be located at 2520 North Wauwatosa Ave. and access would be from the east side of the site where the outdoor playground area and parking spaces are located. St. Pius currently uses the parish rectory for limited housing and administrative operations. Portions of the buildings are also used by Wauwatosa Catholic School for after-school child care programs, according to the organization's operation plan.

The applicants requested that an informational presentation take place at the plan commission meeting with no action.

The topic — and another presentation — is expected to be presented at a plan commission meeting again in March.

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