LAUDERDALE LAKES, FL (March 16, 2023) – The future will be a lot brighter for students, staff and faculty at Central Charter School now that it has broken ground on a new, three-story, 100,000-square foot campus.
The groundbreaking ceremony took place at the school’s location on North State Road 7 in Lauderdale Lakes. The site was formerly a strip mall that was gradually converted to classrooms for grades K-8.
“This is a huge step up for us,” Central Charter School CEO Hugh Jarrett said. “We’re moving from a place that was built for stores to a brand new, three-story, state-of-the-art building that has all the latest amenities. We’re going to have the latest technology in our classrooms, the best internet, music rooms, beautiful classroom, a new library … this is going to do wonders for our students and faculty.”
“It feels like we’re moving out of our first house and into the house of our dreams,” Central Charter School Principal John Billingsley added. “This is going to be a place we want to show off. It’s going to make us feel like we’re not just providing excellence in education, we’re doing it in one of the top-tier educational facilities in the community.’’
Central Charter School’s current facility consists of three different buildings, most of which had to be converted from office and retail space into classrooms. That transition happened gradually as the school grew from 124 students in grades K-2 when it opened in 1997, to 1,200 students in K-8 this school year.
Bulldozers will appear on the 12-acre facility later this month, and construction is expected to be finished in June of 2024. When completed, there will be space for 1,600 students that includes a new cafeteria and indoor gymnasium. The school serves a large population of students from Jamaica, Haiti, the Bahamas, and other Caribbean islands.
“I think you could describe us as being culturally, very sensitive,” Jarrett said. “Over 25 years, our high enrollment and wait list are testimony that we are giving the community what they want and making it what they need.”
“The message the new building sends to our students, their families and especially our teachers, is that we’re moving toward greatness,” Billingsley said. “We met some hurdles along the way, and we got past them. We’re bringing something to the community of Lauderdale Lakes that is unheard of in the charter school world.”
The cost for the new building is just under $30 million. Jarrett credited Building Hope with helping CCS overcome the financial barriers that inevitably arise in school construction. Building Hope is a non-profit foundation dedicated to creating high-quality K-12 charter school opportunities for students through its expertise in real estate, finance, and operational services. Building Hope Services President Richard Moreno served as financial advisor on the project.
“Rich really did a great deal of work in getting this project financed for us,” Jarrett said. “His group did excellent work in guiding us through the bond market and helping put together the financial data that was required to go through the gauntlet you have to go through, to get that level of funding.”
“Breaking ground for this school campus represents everything we think of when we think about building hope,” said Moreno. “It is about serving the needs of the community. It is about preparing students to make their mark on the world. It is about having an impact that will extend for generations to come.”
About Building Hope
Building Hope is a national non-profit that empowers advancements in education through our work with charter schools providing unparalleled facility financing, real estate development, and operational services. We believe a facility should never be the barrier preventing a child from attending a great school. During our 20-year history, Building Hope has invested $482 million in high-impact charter schools serving nearly 200,000 children.