In 2005, the school signed a short-term lease renting 15,000 square feet from the British American School in South Charlotte. This interim lease allowed the school to keep searching for a permanent home for Scholars Academy.
By 2007, with only one year remaining on the current lease, the school was serving over 300 students and had run out of classroom space. In addition, the school had no storage, commons areas, or office space. A make-shift classroom was constructed with cubicle walls while the school’s administrative assistant worked out of the classroom’s closet! The need for a permanent solution was essential.
In early 2008, having searched over 25 buildings and development properties since 2005, the school narrowed the search to two buildings, one of which was 77 Center. The school community faced a new challenge: how to finance the acquisition and renovation of an office/data center into a school with no endowment and no extended history of annual/capital giving, while in the midst of the worst global economic crisis since the Great Depression.
Behind the scenes, over 9,000 volunteer hours were given by members of the school’s volunteer board of directors, other parents, and staff to help provide the school with a permanent home. At a price tag of $5,360,000 (including $3.0M purchase price, $1.9M construction costs and $460K soft costs), the school community embarked on an aggressive capital campaign. Between September, 2008 and September, 2009, the school community raised an impressive $1,300,000, which enabled the school to be in a position to negotiate financing, while also ensuring a normal operating cash reserve for the upcoming school year. On December 16, 2009, Scholars Academy closed the deal on 77 Center, which would become our permanent home designed to help meet the needs of about 380 students. In February 2009, based on the designs of Little Architects, extensive renovations began to convert the office/data center in to our school.
After years of searching, fundraising, and tremendous commitment from our school community, Scholars Academy opened the doors to our permanent home in August, 2010.
We will always be grateful to those who made our school and this facility a reality. Now, our current school community must carry the torch by giving of their time, talent and treasures as we work together to ensure our school's continued success. As Henry Ford once said:
“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”