Cristo Rey to lease former Redemptorist High site in Baton Rouge, with classes to begin next year

    Cristo Rey, a new Catholic high school that will partner with local businesses and serve students from low-income families, will open in the fall of 2016 at the former site of Redemptorist High School.

    The school announced this morning that it has secured a lease for the former Redemptorist campus at 4000 St. Gerard Ave. after conducting an extensive search for a location in downtown or central Baton Rouge.

    After Redemptorist closed in May, the site became available for lease in early June at a rental rate of about $3 per square foot, or $23,853 per month. According to the listing of the property, the campus comprises about 13.6 acres of land in total—including 95,412 square feet of school facilities—with an administration building, classrooms, computer room, biology and chemistry lab, library, gym and football field equipped with stadium seating, press box, concession stand and outdoor lighting. It’s also fully furnished.

    “The cost to Cristo Rey Baton Rouge would be significantly lower and the site offered a facility built as a high school, reducing the need for extensive renovations. Additionally, the site provides a closer physical connection to the potential student population we are designed to serve,” says Cristo Rey Baton Rouge President James Llorens, former Southern University chancellor, in a July 20 letter to Joseph Ingraham, CFO of the Diocese of Baton Rouge, which is leasing the property.

    The Baton Rouge school will bring to 32 the number of Cristo Rey schools across the country. Under the Cristo Rey model, students offset the price of tuition by working five days per month at a local business. In Baton Rouge, 40 businesses have committed to hiring teams of four students each for the 2016-17 school year. The school anticipates enrolling 125 students in its first class of 9th grade students next year.

    Along with Llorens, other administrators at the Baton Rouge school will include Vic Howell, who will lead the founding board; and Aimee Wells, who will serve as principal.

    —Steve Sanoski

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