Important Considerations to Keep in Mind

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Financing Important Timing Considerations

Financing influences your entire project and must be addressed throughout all phases. The task of acquiring financing begins with the crucial step of determining what you can afford to spend on the facility, which is a distinct expense from your overall operating budget. Determine this before starting your site search. You will create a preliminary capital budget, and evaluate funding options for acquisition, construction, and long-term financing that may involve fundraising and debt capital. Talk with financial consultants, local banks, or board members with finance experience.

Charter schools especially need access to flexible capital (i.e., affordable rates, longer terms, non-traditional repayment arrangements) to match revenue and cash flow streams. While there are some national sources of capital, many financing programs are state-based. See the Financing section of this guide.

Ongoing Factors Affecting All Phases of Your Project

The following decision factors are explained in relevant chapters. Keep these in mind as you proceed:

  • Cost: The single greatest factor influencing design and development.
  • Schedule: Affects project design. For example, you may need to eliminate a design alternative if it requires a long public hearing.
  • Codes and Regulations/Entitlements: Third parties provide building permits, special zoning variances, and regulatory approvals — all of which influence your project timeline.
  • Site Consideration: Size, configuration, accessibility, and topography, outdoor space availability, and operational sustainability raise numerous considerations.
  • Building Technology: The building’s size and major systems (electrical, heating, plumbing, mechanical) involve compromises.
  • Sustainability: Building green schools may save construction, energy, and operational costs.
  • Context and Climate: Rural vs. urban settings, weather, seismic and hurricane considerations, etc., all need to be factored into building design and materials.

Need for Professional Assistance

The facility development process involves a great deal of technical expertise. Unless your charter school staff or board has that expertise, contract with knowledgeable professionals and consultants to guide you through different aspects of the process.

An architect and project manager can prove especially helpful during the needs assessment stage. The project manager can help the school through various stages of the process and should provide an understanding of the real estate market and construction trades, and charter school experience. The architect can review the feasibility study and needs assessment, and help your school develop the preliminary space needs assessment. An in-depth discussion about key members of the facility development team can be found here.

Legal Disclaimer:

Nothing in this material should be construed as investment, financial, brokerage, or legal advice. Moreover, the facts and circumstances relating to your particular project may result in material changes in the processes, outcomes, and expenses described herein. Consult with your own professional advisors, including your financial advisors, accountants, and attorneys, before attempting to consummate any transaction described in this material.