Understanding Your Needs

What do you need to know to start your facility project?

Are you seeking temporary space for a start-up charter school? Are you the leader of an operating school that needs a permanent facility? Or maybe your facilities requirements stem from a push to replicate and grow a successful charter school model?

You’ve come to the right place. SchoolBuild offers a series of how-to content guides that will help you develop the right facility for your charter school. As you make your way through this portal you’ll find cautionary tales, advice on identifying red flags, guiding questions to ask your vendors, and tips for producing strong loan packages. You’ll learn what it means to own versus lease and explore the turnkey developer model, among many other topics.

A quick guide to help you navigate this section.

The Before You Start section is a very good place to begin for everyone; it will orient you and help you decide which section to focus on next. If you are just beginning to plan for a project, it makes sense to follow the sections in chronological order. This Understanding Your Needs section will shine a light on the different paths available to you and help you begin to decipher what might seem like a foreign language to educators—the language of real estate and financing.

A unique highlight of SchoolBuild (and a large part of the technical assistance we hope to provide) is housed in the section labeled Working with a Developer. This section will help you determine whether your staff and board have the capacity to bring a facility project through to completion or whether you should contract with a developer. It also provides guiding questions and criteria for how to choose a developer and a development model that works best for your school, your board, your finances, and your community.

Even if you decide to hire a developer, the rest of the sections in this resource will help you stay informed throughout the different phases of your project. They will help you ask good questions of your development team. Creating and Managing Your Team is an important section regardless of what path you take. Financing is a process that impacts your project throughout all phases and is important to understand, even if your developer is responsible for packaging your financing.

If you’ve already hired a consultant or an architect to help you plan a build-it-yourself approach, you'll want to continue to Concept and Planning and proceed chronologically from there. 

Before You Start

Get your ducks in a row. Should you be building your new facility now? Do your enrollment projections support a new building? What kind of professional assistance should you be seeking?

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Build It Yourself or Hire a Developer?

Should you work with a developer? Can you develop the facility yourself? If you decide to work with a developer, here’s what you need to know.

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Concept and Planning

You’ve decided to take a build-it-yourself route to facility development. This section will get you started on your way.

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Creating and Managing Your Team

With your development approach defined, you’re now ready to assemble a development team.

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Site Selection

Delve into the facility options available and learn how to choose the site that is right for your school and your students.

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Design and Pre-Construction

You are now at the design and pre-construction phase—an exciting step that will take your facility plan from basic concept to shovel-ready project.

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Start early! Financing influences your entire project and must be addressed throughout all phases. These guides will provide an overview of the various kinds of lenders, types of financing, and the loan process.

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You’ve reached the final phase—construction. It starts when you select your general contractor and ends when you move in!

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