Former Catholic school becomes housing for UW-Madison students

The rosary beads next to the foosball table in Sam Gagliardi’s apartment suggest he has both fun and faith on his mind this school year.

The UW-Madison junior is one of the inaugural tenants of Lumen House, the unusual campus housing project undertaken by three Downtown Madison Catholic congregations. The merged congregations are together known as the Cathedral Parish.

The three-story apartment building, 142 W. Johnson St., was formerly Holy Redeemer Catholic School, which closed in 1965. It is adjacent to Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, one of the congregations in the Cathedral Parish.

The parish spent about $3.5 million to convert the school into student housing, said Monsignor Kevin Holmes, parish leader. There are 19 apartment units of varying sizes, with total space for about 65 people.

The project is an attempt by the parish to turn a property that was quickly deteriorating into one that both generates income and furthers its religious mission. So far, both goals seem to be panning out.
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