LAMB PCS needed a light, bright environment for its bilingual Montessori program, but zoning challenges popped up with every turn. Building Hope guided them through the process and created a beautiful facility for the students.
“We’ve gone through a lot of transitions, but Building Hope has been our constant through all of that. We wouldn’t be where we are today without them.”
~ Charis Sharp ~
When Washington, D.C.’s, Latin American Montessori Bilingual (LAMB) opened its doors in 2003, the school’s students were spread out across three locations around the city. In 2017, LAMB set out to better serve its students by consolidating to one campus location. Building Hope’s team of experts helped LAMB navigate a challenging road and successfully open its beautifully remodeled building in 2021.
Throughout the process, LAMB faced one crisis after another. The school lost its principal, executive director and CFO almost simultaneously. Even through a difficult period of transition, LAMB’s leadership was able to purchase a vacant, historic private school campus for its facility needs. It took 18 months to get the necessary permits for the property, located in D.C.’s 14th Street corridor. Just as work was set to begin on renovations, a neighborhood group sued the zoning board in an attempt to keep the property vacant. Simultaneously, LAMB’s partner school, which was set to cohabitate the facility, permanently closed.
“That’s the Reader’s Digest version of the maze we had to run through to get this done,” said LAMB Executive Director Charis Sharp. “It was just huge upheaval.”
The school’s partnership with Building Hope endured through it all.
When the school’s executives stepped down, the Building Hope Services team stepped in to facilitate day-to-day administrative needs. Meanwhile, the Real Estate experts managed red tape and the community relations.
However, difficulties continued to mount. The building’s entire HVAC system needed to be replaced unexpectedly at a steep cost. The Building Hope Real Estate team was there to help LAMB work within its budget and find ways to reduce costs elsewhere in the renovation, without sacrificing quality. The Covid-19 pandemic began during renovations, causing delays and financial strain. But Building Hope’s Finance team helped LAMB extend its lending agreements through the pandemic.
In March of 2021, after four years, LAMB’s new, customized facility was ready to accept students for in-person learning. The second phase of the project is currently underway, with the support of Building Hope.
“We’ve gone through a lot of transition, but Building Hope has been our constant through all of that. We wouldn’t be where we are today without them.” -Charis Sharp, LAMB Executive Director