True North Classical Academy
True North Classical Academy
Building Hope Made it Happen
True North Classical Academy had to renovate a building and launch a brand-new school in seven weeks. With Building Hope’s help, they did it in six.
Building Hope’s Role:
Financing | Real Estate Development | School Services
Location: Miami, FL
Grades Served: K-12
Number of Students: 550
Square feet of space created: 71,000
Year completed: 2015
Demographics: 74% Hispanic, 16% FRPLunch
We got our facility seven weeks before school was opening and the renovation happened in six!
President, True North Schools
Building Hope Embeds Success in a High-Performing Florida School
For Michael Bileca, True North was the culmination of a dream. The Miami public charter school would focus on a classical, direct-instruction educational model, but also on building character and virtue in its students. A former Florida state legislator with education policy expertise, Bileca’s family foundation made a sizable donation to provide the seed funds, and they had academic parameters in place by 2015; he just needed someone with experience in finance and administration.
“Building Hope was introduced to me very early on as someone who could help us out,” he says. “They’ve done so from the beginning.”
First, Building Hope helped shape True North’s charter application. Once it was granted, we negotiated the school’s lease at an existing facility: a former private school once owned by the church on the adjacent lot. Then came the facility’s structural upgrades and updates—which had to be done quickly.
“We got our facility seven weeks before school was opening,” Bileca recalls. “And the renovation happened in six.”
Everything was ready on time and up to code; still, this wasn’t what sealed Building Hope’s value for Bileca. He had to have all the administrative work done in the same short window as the renovation. He asked Building Hope’s Charter Support Unit for assistance; they responded by embedding an administrative employee on the school’s team for a full month before opening.
“They were really helpful,” he says, “in getting the curriculum ordered, books in place, furniture purchased…they even helped us set up the protocols for recruiting our head of school.”
Building Hope thus set True North’s incredible success in motion. The school quickly became one of the highest-performing in the state, ranked #19 (out of nearly 2,200) in 2018. Its growth was equally great: In no time, they had reached the facility’s 550-student capacity, with an additional 1,000-name waitlist. Building Hope secured financing for, and managed construction of, an additional two buildings, a gym and an education center, on the five-acre campus, creating another 700 seats for opening day 2020. We’ve continued to attract investors to True North, ensuring its continued success. Building Hope also continues to provide back-office services to the school.
EXPANDING TO MEET STUDENT NEEDS
Construction of two new buildings is increasing the school’s capacity by 49,000 square feet, from 550 to 1,250 students.
True North ranked #19 out of 2,161 Florida public schools—in the top one percent— in 2018.
Insights every step of the way
Building Hope went above and beyond to get us launched, and they’ve been able to accommodate our needs and give us insights every step of the way.
President, True North Schools, Florida