CUMBERLAND, R.I.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Civic Builders announced the closing of financing and start of construction on a new 40,000-square-foot charter school for Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy, which when completed will serve 400 elementary students from the Central Falls, Pawtucket, Lincoln and Cumberland, Rhode Island communities.
Opening in late 2014 on Broad Street in Cumberland, the school will include 14 classrooms, art and music rooms, and a multipurpose space that will function as both a gymnasium and cafeteria. Civic Builders will also develop a playground that will be open to all children, even if they do not attend Blackstone Valley Prep. In addition to serving students from a low-income community, the project will create over 40 full-time jobs that will be targeted to residents of the area.
“Civic Builders is excited to partner with Jeremy Chiappetta, Executive Director of Blackstone Valley Prep, and his team of educators on this new school, and we are thrilled to use our New Markets Tax Credit allocation to make it affordable for the school,” said Civic Builders’ CEO, David Umansky. “Blackstone Valley Prep offers Rhode Island’s children the highest-quality of educational opportunities, and I know that this new school will be an inspiration that will serve the people of Cumberland for generations.”
The $15 million project was financed using a leveraged New Markets Tax Credit (“NMTC”) structure. New Markets Tax Credits are federal credits administered by the U.S. Treasury and are designed to help to spur revitalization efforts in low-income and impoverished communities across the country. The NMTC Program provides tax credit incentives to investors for equity investments in certified Community Development Entities (“CDEs”), which invest in low-income communities.
Civic Builders, a first time allocatee of the NMTC program, used $10.5 million of its NMTC allocation authority in the project. Civic Builders invested additional capital from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and debt sourced from Boston Community Loan Fund and Eastern Bank. U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation, the community development subsidiary of U.S. Bank, provided the tax credit equity and $4.25 million of additional allocation.
“We're pleased to partner with Civic Builders to increase high-quality public education options in Cumberland, while supporting U.S. Bank's mission of strengthening and energizing communities,” said Jennifer Westerbeck, Assistant Vice President of U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation. “Our hope is that the new school offers Blackstone Valley Prep—and its students—room to grow and succeed.”
“The town of Cumberland and the Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy Board are thrilled to have a permanent building for BVP’s second elementary school to serve the students from families in the Blackstone Valley,” said Mayor Dan McKee, Mayor of Cumberland and Chairman of the Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy School Board. “The school will not only provide high quality jobs and educational opportunity for our scholars attending Blackstone Valley Prep, it will also be a new development to enliven our community.”
The $10.5 million NMTC financing for the Blackstone Valley Prep charter school project marks the complete deployment of Civic Builders’ “Round 10” NMTC allocation (the credits are issued in rounds that can be applied for by certified CDEs). Earlier in 2013, Civic Builders allocated $4.5 million of NMTCs to finance Heketi Community Charter School, an $11 million project in the South Bronx that will serve 305 students, of whom 90 percent are low-income, 97 percent are African-American or Latino-American, located in a community where more than half of the population lives below the poverty line.
Boston Community Loan Fund President Michelle Volpe said, “We are delighted to provide leveraged debt for Blackstone Valley Prep, which will significantly expand Central Falls, Cumberland, Lincoln and Pawtucket families’ access to strong education options. It’s our pleasure to partner with Eastern Bank and Civic Builders on this important project.”
Christopher W. Scoville, Vice President of Community Development Lending at Eastern Bank, said, “Eastern Bank is proud to be partnering with Civic Builders, an organization that is deeply committed to improving the quality of charter schools throughout the Northeast. In particular, we are excited to be working with Civic Builders to construct a new elementary school in Cumberland for Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy, one of Rhode Island’s most highly regarded and academically successful schools. The partnership between Civic Builders, Blackstone Valley Prep and Eastern Bank will not only improve the school’s brick and mortar facilities, but will greatly expand its ability to serve children in some of Rhode Island’s most underserved communities.”
Jeremy Chiappetta, Executive Director of Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academies, stated, “We are honored to have these investments for facilities that will have a long term and positive educational impact, and by extension positive economic impact, on the communities we serve.”
About Civic Builders
Civic Builders is a non-profit charter school facility developer that partners with the best educators to make high-achieving schools possible. Dedicated to helping high-quality charter schools find affordable and appropriate facilities to open and expand in, Civic Builders tailors each facility to fit the unique needs of their partner schools. Founded in 2002 and based in New York City, Civic Builders has 18 schools completed or in development that will soon serve over 9,100 students in high-need communities in the Northeast. More information can be found at www.civicbuilders.org.
About Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy
Blackstone Valley Prep (BVP) is a network of tuition-free public schools chartered by the Rhode Island Department of Education. As a growing network of schools, BVP offers a high quality public school choice to the families of Central Falls, Cumberland, Lincoln and Pawtucket. The Academy currently serves nearly 1,000 scholars in grades K-8. A member of the Rhode Island Mayoral Academies network, BVP’s mission is to put to put every scholar on a path to college. At scale, BVP will be seven schools serving more than 2,000 scholars. More information can be found at www.blackstonevalleyprep.org.
About New Markets Tax Credits
The NMTC program was sanctioned by Congress through the Community Renewal Tax Relief Act of 2000 with the initiative to spur private capital investments in businesses located in or serving low-income communities. The NMTC program is managed by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) and to date, the CDFI Fund has administered ten application rounds in which certified Community Development Entities (CDEs) may apply for tax credit allocation authority. In total, the CDFI Fund has made 749 allocation awards totaling $36.5 billion in tax credit authority, including $3 billion in Recovery Act awards and $1 billion that was specifically set aside for recovery and redevelopment in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.