Tools & Resources
Building Hope was founded with the goal of doing one thing, improving the quality of education in the United States by building quality charter schools.
We realize many charter school leaders and administrators are skilled in educating students and most likely have not built or remodeled a school facility before.
Therefore, to help you get started, we compiled this “Facility Project Planning Guide” from many resources. Each source is identified in the link.
We hope you find this information useful. Keep in mind Building Hope provides free technical assistance to charter schools so if you find you are not up for a crash course in the construction industry please contact us.
Facility Project Planning: Start to Finish
Before you take the plunge into building a new facility from the ground up or to make a major acquisition on a property, first review these basic documents to introduce yourself to the basics on real estate.
- New School Checklist (PDF)
- General Overview Training Presentation – Building Hope (PowerPoint)
- Overview of Property Types – Charterschools.org (PDF)
- Grow Your Real Estate Lexicon – Charterschools.org (PDF)
- The Basics on Real Estate – IFF.org (PDF)
Do You Have the Capital to Start?
Determine if you have the financial flexibility in case things do not go as planned. You should be able to assess if you can take out a mortgage, and if so, for how much. Also, there are key financial ratios that you should use to monitor your financial stability over time.
- Facility Needs – IFF.org (PDF)
- Financing Capability – IFF.org (PDF)
- Financial Ratios – IFF.org (PDF)
- Deciding Whether to Own or Lease – Charterschools.org (PDF)
Assessing Your Financial Health and Managing Risk
Throughout your school specific real-estate project, it will be important to consistently monitor your financial wellbeing as you complete major milestones. This can allow you to be proactive in terms of effectively allocating funds. Please see below for tools that will allow you to become more engaged with your financials.
- Assessing Your Operating CF – IFF.org (PDF)
- Acquiring Necessary Funding – IFF.org (PDF)
- Measuring Loan Readiness – IFF.org (PDF)
- Construction Risk Management – Charterschools.org (PDF)
- Affordability, Cash Sources, & Uses – Example (Excel)
Building a Strong, Comprehensive Team
In order to build a successful facility that is within budget, you should know how to form the appropriate team of experts to manage the real estate project. The list of professionals you decide to hire will depend on a multitude of factors including your personal expertise, time sensitivity, budget, and desired size.
- General Overview of Professionals – Charterschools.org (PDF)
- General Contractor – IFF.org (PDF)
- Project Manager – IFF.org (PDF)
- Capital Campaign Consultant – IFF.org (PDF)
- Architect – IFF.org (PDF)
Getting the Best Facility for Your Specific Needs
Every charter school requires its own set of tools to achieve its purpose. This uniqueness requires that a facility meets the underlining goals that set your school apart, while at the same time comes within budget. The illustrations below are factors you should consider when developing a charter school.
- Initial Real Estate Project – IFF.org (PDF)
- What All Designs Should Have – Charterschools.org (PDF)
- STEM Classroom Design Guidelines (PDF)
- Blended Learning Classroom Design Guidelines (PDF)
- Extended day, collaborative teaching, shared culture learning environment Design Guidelines (PDF)
- Choosing the Right Facility – IFF.org (PDF)
- Picking the Right Site – Charterschools.org (PDF)
- Square Footage Calculator – Learn Programs (Excel)
- Bidding and Contracting Diagram – Charterschools.org (PDF)
Budgeting and Finishing Touches
After completing the hard part of getting started, we wanted to provide you with some resources for how you can monitor performance moving forward. Finally, be sure to take advantage of all possible savings through taxes.