CENTRAL FALLS, R.I.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Civic Builders, a leading nonprofit specializing in real estate and facility solutions for charter schools, announced it has purchased land for and will begin renovations on a school for Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy (BVP). The school marks the second partnership between Civic Builders and Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy, a charter school network that operates some of the highest performing schools in Rhode Island.
The property is located on Lonsdale Avenue, and its sale will provide BVP a permanent home for a middle school while also helping the Holy Spirit Parish fund critical improvements to their current buildings. In compliance with the Parish’s wishes, Civic Builders will preserve the former school as a place of education for generations to come.
Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy will serve approximately 320 students from Central Falls, Cumberland, Lincoln, and Pawtucket on this new campus. With Blackstone Valley Prep students surpassing state testing averages in every subject and at every grade level, Civic Builders’ partnership with Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy is a crucial step in providing space for students to receive a quality education that prepares them for future successes.
Joy Souza, Blackstone Valley Prep Middle’s Head of School, said: "We could not be more enthusiastic about having a school in Central Falls, engaging fully in Central Falls’ ongoing revitalization and contributing a high-quality school to the formula for community success.”
“What’s more,” Ms. Souza continued, “We are thrilled for the nearly 100 BVP scholars who will now attend school within walking distance of their homes and the 250 more students from Lincoln, Cumberland and Pawtucket to be able to experience the Central Falls’ rich diversity and history.”
The project involves the revitalization of a historic Central Falls building that has a long history of educating students. “The sale of the former St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Academy building is bittersweet,” said Holy Spirit Parish Pastor Otoniel Gomez. “It was very unfortunate that declining enrollment forced the Diocese of Providence to close the school earlier this year, but we are happy to have found a buyer that will occupy the space.”
To finance the school renovations and preserve this historic education building, Civic Builders will utilize a portion of the generous Program Related Investment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This PRI capital is exclusively dedicated to supporting facility development for the Central Falls District-Charter Compact. Civic Builders will also deploy proceeds from its New Markets Tax Credits allocation, a federal program targeting economically distressed communities like Central Falls, which in 2011 became the second municipality in U.S. history to declare bankruptcy. With a current moratorium on state funding for school construction in this area, the BVP project will be a significant investment that can revitalize the area both educationally as well as economically.
"By contributing to our economic growth and providing additional educational opportunities for our community, this project will promote the continued renaissance our city is experiencing. We welcome the almost 400 students, teachers and staff to Central Falls, more than 100 of whom call our community 'home,’" said Central Falls Mayor James Diossa.
“Civic Builders has already seen the immense impact Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy has on its students and its surrounding community,” said David Umansky, co-founder and CEO of Civic Builders. “We are honored to continue this partnership in order to give these students an inspiring space to learn.”
The building is projected to be ready for the 2015-2016 school year.
About Civic Builders
Civic Builders transforms children’s lives and revitalizes communities by building inspirational schools for students in underserved neighborhoods. Dedicated to giving every child the chance to attend a great school, Civic Builders partners with the nation’s best educators to create public charter school buildings in communities where the need is greatest. Civic Builders marries real estate know-how and financial expertise to develop great schools so children can build their futures. Every classroom created is a space where children learn and thrive for generations to come. 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 and currently serves 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. More information can be found at www.blackstonevalleyprep.org.