OnTECH Charter High School Realizes Dream with Help of Building Hope


School Purchases Its Own Facility Ahead of Schedule

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Aug. 30, 2021) – Building Hope, 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, announced its partner school OnTECH Charter High School in Syracuse, N.Y., has finalized the purchase of its permanent location. Building Hope helped the school secure financing and renovate its facility in 2018.

Dru Damico, president of Building Hope Real Estate and a native of Syracuse, N.Y., remembers “the opportunity to develop a charter school like OnTECH in my own hometown” as a shining career moment. The inspiring educational model truly prepares students for the future. Since opening, the school has thrived. Because of OnTECH’s leadership, community support and fiscal management, the school was able to buy the property from Building Hope this summer.

“This is a significant win for OnTECH – its administrators, families and students – as well as the Syracuse community and our Building Hope Family,” said Building Hope Vice President for Finance Lance Helming. “We are proud to help this school grow and serve more students through its innovative curriculum and top-quality facility.”

The land and building previously served a Catholic school that had been vacant for a number of years before the property was acquired by Building Hope for OnTECH. Even through challenges presented by the pandemic, the school’s leadership was able to secure funding and purchase the property from Building Hope well ahead of schedule. OnTECH’s Principal Ellen Eagen said this exemplifies the school’s commitment to the community and demonstrates solid financial footing for OnTECH’s future.

OnTECH’s small class size enabled it to be one of the only schools in the area to have in-person classes last year. Eagen said she believes that has played a role in her students’ success and the school’s growth. “We plan to begin the 2021-2022 academic year with a hybrid learning model that will include in-person and live online instruction.”

OnTECH joins career and technical education with project-based learning. Teachers combine English language remediation with authentic learning experiences, focusing on agri-business, renewable energy and the sustainable sciences. These areas of concentration are made possible thanks to local partnerships and business leaders. The school serves more than 300, 9th-11th grade students – nearly 89 percent of them qualify for free and reduced lunch prices.

Building Hope helps charter schools identify, finance and build facilities customized to schools’ needs. The organization also provides support services that allow school administrators to keep their focus on educating students. For more information about how Building Hope helps charter schools nationwide with facilities, financing, and operational services, visit www.buildinghope.org.


About Building Hope

Building Hope is a non-profit foundation created to support education and public charter schools. Since 2003, Building Hope’s purpose has been to identify and finance viable facilities so that all students have access to a quality K-12 education. Building Hope has grown the capacity of charter schools nationwide by providing facilities, financial, and operational services so that schools can focus on and devote more resources to educating students in underserved communities. Building Hope has supported 300 charter school projects and 150,000 students in 20 states and the District of Columbia, by providing more than $363 million in direct loans, credit enhancements, and equity investments to support $1.9 billion in school construction.


Martha Holler

ShinePR for Building Hope | pr@buildinghope.org