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Conduct Feasibility Study to Determine Facility Options
This study will let you decide if it is feasible to move forward with a facility change and whether to lease, purchase, construct, or renovate. Consider hiring a consultant to lead the feasibility study as he or she does not hold strong convictions about the result of the feasibility process. Such impartiality keeps all parties focused on practical issues and less focused on the emotionally charged aspects of a potential site. The charter school board, however, should be involved in all the process details. Begin your feasibility studies with a series of informal discussions with the school’s constituents (teachers, parents, students, board) to solicit their ideas and expectations about a potential project.
Feasibility Questions to Answer
Assess Revenue Stream and Financial Stability
It is important for your school to assess its financial stability before embarking on a major facility expansion. This will help keep your school from getting in over its head so you don’t risk losing its charter due to financial instability. The following is adapted from worksheets developed by the Illinois Facilities Fund (IFF). For more information, visit www.iff.org/our-services/real-estate/.
Importance of Community Engagement
Consider the school’s location not simply as a practical matter but as an essential part of successful integration into the community. Your school should be easily accessible to your target student population, and the location of your school may allow you to create partnerships with community-based organizations. Access to parks, libraries, transportation, universities, museums, etc., may also complement your school’s program. By collaborating with such entities you’ll benefit both the school and the community. Include community input early on about the school and its location by reaching out to stakeholders (teachers, parents, students, community members) and holding discussions about their expectations and ideas.
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.