Innovation Montessori

Innovation Montessori

Building under pressure

Building Hope and Innovation Montessori worked against the clock and geographical challenges to create the school’s home. 

Building Hope’s Role:

Financing | Real Estate Development 

Location: Ocoee, Florida
Grades Served: K-8
Number of Students: 475
Square feet of space created: 47,000
Year completed: 2018

They just didn't give up.

When we were trying to find a way to bring our dreams into reality, they stepped in. 

Building Hope is probably the best-named organization that there is.

Brett Casey
Governing Board President, Innovation Montessori Ocoee

Beating the Odds with a Greenfield Development

A shopping center is no place for a thriving school, Innovation Montessori had discovered. The landlord agreed: Their lease at the Winter Garden, Florida strip mall where the charter school spent its first six years would terminate in Spring 2017. When fall came, would there be someplace to go?

Enter Building Hope. “When we were trying to find a way to bring our dreams into reality, they stepped in,” says Sherilyn Moore, Innovation’s founding board chair.

Innovation decided to build a ground-up facility in Orange County (where it was chartered). Building Hope worked with PNC Bank to procure the financing. A suitable property proved elusive, however. The school faced a slew of challenges with land and regulations. “We found thousands of places that were nixed,” Moore says. All the while, the clock was ticking.

Then, in Ocoee, they found an affordable 18-acre lot in an area that the city wanted to revitalize. It had its own challenges: half of it was unbuildable wetland. 

Innovation and Building Hope had come too far to let that stop them. 

After obtaining the land and municipal approval, Building Hope designed a facility that would integrate with the landscape, weaving structures and parking around hundreds of trees instead of razing them. They also commissioned a new plumbing system that extended to the surrounding community, as well as new access roads—making environmental and community impacts from the start.

Building Hope managed the construction. In August 2017, less than four months after breaking ground, the newly named Innovation Montessori Ocoee (IMO) opened its 8,000-square-foot primary building. In the spring came two additional buildings, along with a solar-energy system that powers the entire campus.

All of it, says Moore, was possible because IMO had a trusted partner. “Building Hope is probably the best-named organization that there is.”

Fast and Effective

Building Hope completed the entire 8,000-square-foot primary building in four months, groundbreaking to ribbon-cutting.