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Gaenslen celebrates new library with ribbon cutting ceremony

Gaenslen LibraryStudents at Frederick J. Gaenslen School are enjoying a new library that includes a story teller's circle, tree trunk reading nook, nature-themed artwork, technology, and cozy spaces with new furniture, shelves, and hundreds of new books. The new space was designed to be engaging and accessible for students of all abilities.

The project began in 2016 with funding from James Patterson School Library Grants. Over the past six years, thanks to the Milwaukee Public Schools Foundation, Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Bader Philanthropies, and generous donors, the effort grew to encompass a total library renovation.

“This day was six years in the making, and seeing the smiles on students’ faces today made it all worth it,” said Tiffany Tardy, MPS Foundation Executive Director. “Research consistently shows that high-quality school libraries lead to student achievement, and these benefits are even stronger for children with disabilities. This project ensures all students here can fully engage in learning for decades to come.”

Gaenslen Library The renovated library honors a long history in providing education to Milwaukee children of all abilities. Gaenslen School opened in 1939 to serve children with polio; currently in a building that was designed and constructed in 1988 to be completely wheelchair accessible, Gaenslen continues to serve students with special healthcare needs and orthopedic impairments.

MPS worked with local architecture, engineering and design firm Eppstein Uhen Architects to design a space that is vibrant and user friendly for all, including students with special needs. The library is the first major project completed in Milwaukee Public Schools using federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds. The work of many volunteers and community organizations was also instrumental to the completion of the project. 

“I want to thank the team at Gaenslen School for spearheading this project, as well as the MPS Foundation, Bader Philanthropies, and all the donors and volunteers who turned this vision into a reality,” said Dr. Keith P. Posley, MPS Superintendent. “It’s exciting to see how this space was transformed and to know it’s just the beginning of what the community is going to see throughout MPS over the next year and a half.”

Gaenslen Library Ribbon CuttingThe new library at Gaenslen is the first of many facilities upgrades that will occur in MPS buildings by fall 2024, leveraging ESSER funds and philanthropic support from the MPS Foundation and other community partners. Groundbreaking on many of these projects will occur this year, including:

  • A project at Vincent High School for a new barn that includes an environmental science classroom and lab
  • A building addition at Greenfield Bilingual School for additional classrooms
  • Large-scale interior and exterior renovations at Fairview that will include a new gymnasium and classrooms
  • A new cohort of Green and Healthy Schoolyards in partnership with the MPS Foundation, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, City of Milwaukee, Reflo and other partners. More information is available here:

Frederick J. Gaenslen School is located at 1250 E. Burleigh Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 53212.



Stephen Davis, Media Relations Manager
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