In 1961, a set of meetings of the Lutheran High School Association Board with Association congregational church councils led to a survey of the south side Lutheran churches of Milwaukee to project potential enrollment figures for the possible development of a South-Side Lutheran high school. The survey questionnaire was sent to 6,020 persons in twenty churches, and indicated a probable first year enrollment of 380 students. The following excerpt shows the feeling of urgency among them: “The first permanent solution, which is also a moral obligation of the Association, is to provide a Lutheran high school for the young people living in the southern half of the Milwaukee community. This will fulfill a promise made to these good people when they participated so wholeheartedly in the fundraising drive for the present school and acquitted themselves so well.” Mass meetings of Association churches and active student interest in a second high school generated enthusiasm for the new project.
In January 1964, the board of directors was empowered to engage an architect resulting later in the selection of Plunkett, Keymar, Reginato, and Associates. A fundraising committee was appointed which suggested in May, 1965, that a two-year campaign should involve all participating congregations with an every-member visitation. Congressional goals would be set by personal conferences with each congregation. They affirmed, “We’ve done it before… of course we can do it again, with God’s help.” A promotional booklet proclaimed: “We Shall FINISH the Unfinished Symphony of Christian Education.” This sort of faith and dedication to the accomplishment of a difficult task bore fruit.
On April 30, 1967, using the same shovel which has been used at the Milwaukee Lutheran High School groundbreaking, ground was broken for the building of our second Lutheran high school. Pastor Carl Egloff was the speaker. Music was supplied by the Band and the Concert Choir of Milwaukee Lutheran High School. The cornerstone laying service for Martin Luther High School was held on October 22, with Dr. Walter W. Stuenkel, president of Concordia College, the guest speaker. The Milwaukee Lutheran High School Band and Concert Choir again provided the music. Since 1967 was the 450th Anniversary of the Reformation, the school was called Martin Luther High School.
Construction progressed rapidly during 1967. By the end of December the building was completely enclosed and the heating plant installed. The Campaign Status Report covering contributions to the Building Fund brought good news in the Association Newsletter of July, 1967:
“We are grateful to our Lord for the wonderful response of congregations and friends of Martin Luther High School, and are happy to report that the total figure is now over $1,000,000. The initial campaign goal was a cautious $900,000. The present total is a thrilling endorsement of Christian secondary education for our young people."
The April 1968, Association Newsletter reported that construction had been progressing ahead of schedule. A mild winter and large efficient crews enabled the contractor to move the completion date a month ahead of schedule. Total cost of the facility came to 2.3 million dollars.
Dedication and The Early Years ...
Martin Luther High School was dedicated September 15, 1968. More than 1,500 people attended the festival service at which the Milwaukee Lutheran High School Band and Choirs provided the music. Dr. M. L. Koehneke, president of Concordia Teachers College in River Forest, Illinois, was the principal speaker. Following the service a reception was held in the cafeteria, and all guests were invited to tour the building.