Project Manager

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The role of the project manager (PM) is to coordinate every aspect of the project and manage each development team member. While the charter school board is ultimately responsible for the project’s success or failure, the PM has daily project responsibility for the myriad of details that requires attention. The PM should be identified at the project’s earliest stages. One of the PM’s first major tasks might be to coordinate the selection and hiring process of the architect. An ideal candidate for the PM role is an individual with a technical background (e.g., engineer, contractor, real estate developer), who has successfully managed similar charter school facility projects. The PM will juggle multiple tasks, coordinate schedules, and mediate on behalf of various team members. You’ll want someone who pays meticulous attention to detail and has strong organizational and communication skills.

The PM can be a charter school employee, but is usually an individual hired for this purpose. Overall project costs will be reduced if an existing employee is charged with this role, but consider whether the cost savings are worth it. Most people vastly underestimate the time it takes to manage a facilities development project, and it is unlikely that the school administrator or a school manager can dedicate 100% of their time to project management. If you choose to make a charter school employee the PM, the lender may still require the charter school to hire an independent, qualified third party, sometimes called an owner’s representative, to oversee the process.

Your project manager can help with the following:

  • Identify members of the development team
  • Oversee planning and design of facility
  • Develop project budgets and update budgets as needed
  • Forecast long-term financial needs to maintain and operate facility
  • Solicit construction bids and ensure receipt of building permits
  • Manage contractors and construction operations
  • Provide information to lender and funders, and maintain ongoing contact to ensure receipt of funding
  • Prepare monthly progress reports for board, funders, and/or school community
  • Furnish advice to the school about various aspects of the facility development process

Related link in Essential Resources: Adapted from Illinois Facilities Fund, Technical Assistance Worksheets. For more information, visit  

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.