Guadalupe Centers opens doors to newest school facility - KCTV5

Guadalupe Centers opens doors to newest school facility

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

The Guadalupe Centers is expanding options for students. There will now be an Alta Vista Charter High School for Kansas City, KS, students and Thursday morning the new building was dedicated.

At one point, space was so limited at the old Alta Vista High School that some students ate lunch in their classrooms.

"Our old school could fit into this one, fit into this auditorium," said Gilbert Guerrero, the vice president of Guadalupe Centers.

The Kansas City charter school began in early 2000 with a focus on the Latino community - students were dropping out at an alarming rate.

"There was no high school in the west side Westport area," said Cris Medina, the CEO of the Guadalupe Center.

"The kids always told us they wanted a school. Contrary to the belief that our kids dropped out, many dropped out because schools weren't meeting their needs," Guerrero said.

The Guadalupe Center knew that Kansas City Public Schools wanted to get rid of their old school buildings. They stepped in with an architect, funding sponsors and the community to claim an old elementary school as the new Alta Vista High School.

"There was one voice loud and clear. We don't want factories, we don't want housing, we want a school," Medina said.

While classes have been going on since the start of the school year it wasn't until Thursday morning that the Guadalupe Center held a dedication ceremony and tour of their new high school at 2640 Belleview in Kansas City.

Students like Gabby Araujo couldn't be happier. The honor roll student, now a senior, recalls being crammed in old office spaces.

"We wanted to expand, but there was never enough space. The hallways were always crowded and coming here was a huge difference," Araujo said.

Instead of students being bussed to their gym class, or the band room at another school, now they can walk to the gym, make music in their own band room and fill their walls in the art room.

"Here you feel more connected, more of a community and it is much closer to my house. I can stay after school as long as I want," Araujo said.

There are three charter schools in the Guadalupe Educational System - Alta Vista Charter Middle School, Academia de Niños Elementary and now Alta Vista Charter High School.

School administrators, board members and civic representatives were on hand for the dedication.

Alta Vista High School opened in 1989 with an enrollment of 20 students as an alternative school in partnership with De LaSalle School.

Ten years later, the school became a Missouri Public Charter School under the sponsorship of the University of Central Missouri.

Alta Vista Charter High School is the only public high school in the Westside and Westport neighborhoods with an enrollment of 270 students.

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