THE BRONX, NY--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Grand Concourse Academy Charter School, an independent Local Education Agency, started construction on a new school that will serve nearly 800 students in a 3-story, 50,000 square foot building in the South Bronx. In honor of the milestone, the school held a ceremonial groundbreaking today that was attended by students, parents, school leaders, and representatives from the Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund.
Designed by Brooklyn-based award-winning architecture firm Lubrano Ciavarra, the new campus will serve as the permanent home of Bronx-based Grand Concourse Academy, which currently operates in a temporary space. The school was founded in 2004 and has demonstrated academic excellence in an underserved community with a majority low-income population. McGowan Builders will provide general contracting and construction management services for the project.
Construction of the new campus is made possible through a partnership between Grand Concourse Academy and the Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund, a mission-driven investment fund that is developing the building for the school. Unique in the United States, Turner-Agassi accelerates the growth of high-performing charter schools throughout the nation by helping school operators overcome their biggest obstacle: securing long-term, high-quality facilities.
Located in the Soundview neighborhood of the South Bronx, Grand Concourse Academy will serve 769 students in grades K-8 at occupancy. The 3-story building will include 34 classrooms, a science room, an art room, a technology room, a kitchen, and a multi-purpose room totaling more than 3,800 square feet with solar panels on the roof. The campus will also feature playground space for upper and lower grades, a basketball court, an outdoor amphitheater, gardening space, and a running track that wraps around the facility.
“Construction on our state-of-the-art facility is now underway and we couldn’t be more excited to move into our permanent home,” said Arlene Hall, Chairperson of the Grand Concourse Academy Board. “Our partnership with Turner-Agassi is enabling us to have certainty about our location and also access to the high-quality facility that our students deserve.”
Turner-Agassi provides resources, development experience and a passion for educational excellence to help top school operators focus on their main priority: helping students succeed. The Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund takes the lead in site selection, acquisition, design and construction for new school facilities, which are then leased back to school operators, who can purchase their schools once they reach full occupancy. The fund intends to help operators obtain permanent financing using New Market Tax Credits, tax-exempt bond offerings or funding from the U.S. Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund.
“Finding a high-quality permanent campus can be nearly impossible for charter schools. We are thrilled to provide a new facility that will meet the needs of the children and educators at Grand Concourse Academy,” said Bobby Turner, the fund’s Co-Managing Partner and the CEO of Turner Impact Capital. “Grand Concourse Academy has an excellent track record and we are confident an innovative new campus will help them continue and further their mission to close the achievement gap for thousands of young people in the years ahead.”
A joint venture of Turner Impact Capital and Agassi Ventures, Turner-Agassi is backed by a world‐class group of institutional investors who share a commitment to effecting positive societal change in urban centers across the United States. To date, 79 schools have been developed across the country, serving 41,600 students in such communities as North Philadelphia, Newark, Southwest Detroit, South Dallas, North Las Vegas, and the Bronx. The fund is positioned to develop an additional 85 schools serving another 49,000 students by 2020.
Turner Impact Capital is an acknowledged leader and innovator in the growing field of social impact investing – an investment approach that takes into account two goals: generating positive, risk-adjusted financial returns and creating purposeful, measurable, and positive social or environmental impact through those investments. Founded in 2014, the firm is on course to surpass $2.5 billion in investment potential to address challenges facing urban neighborhoods while delivering superior risk-adjusted returns for its investors.
“Grand Concourse Academy values educating children above all else, and we are proud to support their mission,” said Glenn Pierce, President of Education Initiatives at Turner Impact Capital. “We are focused on scaling a sustainable education solution to benefit as many students in New York, and across the nation, as possible.”
About the Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund
The Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund is the nation’s largest fund solely designed to accelerate the growth of high-performing, urban charter schools. Since its inception in 2011, the original fund and its successor have developed 79 schools serving the needs of 41,600 students throughout the United States. With dedicated funding from preeminent social impact investors, the fund is expected to open an additional 85 schools serving 49,000 students by 2020. For more information, please visit www.turnerimpact.com.
About Grand Concourse Academy
Grand Concourse Academy Charter School (GCA) was founded in 2004 in the West Bronx. Today, the school serves more than 500 children in grades K-8 from the East and West Bronx communities. Our State of New York (SUNY) charter has been renewed two times, one with an invitation for early renewal. The fundamental belief of GCA is that all children have the right to attend schools in which they can progress and learn.
About Lubrano Ciavarra
Lubrano Ciavarra Architects is a New York-based architecture and design studio founded by Anne Marie Lubrano and Lea Ciavarra in 1999. Their belief that the best architecture can benefit an entire community is reflected in all of their projects in the residential, commercial, cultural, educational, and hospitality sectors. The Lubrano Ciavarra team works to understand the needs and ethos of each client, and delivers innovative, finely-crafted design solutions that are rooted in conceptual clarity. The success of their approach can be measured by the solid, long-term relationships they enjoy with their clients.