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Chester Charter School for the Arts

Geography Pennsylvania

Reinvestment Fund financing is supporting the construction of a new, state-of-the-art performing arts facility for the Chester Charter School for the Arts.

Opened in 2012, the Chester Charter School for the Arts (CCSA) has combined academic rigor with artistic creativity. It is located in an area where 30% of the population lives in poverty. The Chester Upland School District ranks in the bottom 1% of Pennsylvania’s 498 school districts. Over 96% of CCSA students are from Chester Upland; nearly 13% receive special education services and 65% qualify for free- or reduced-price lunch.

Having outgrown its current facility, CCSA’s new 90,000 square foot facility will sit on 11 acres of land purchased from the Chester Housing Authority. The new, larger facility will allow the school to provide robust arts programming, including art and dance studios, as well as science labs, a “cafetorium” with a 720 square-foot stage, and 7,000 square-foot gymnasium. The school currently serves 500 students, and the new facility will have the capacity for 750 students.

The Chester Fund for Education and the Arts, which operates the school, is also providing fundraising support to CCSA and will both own the land and construct the facility. The $31 million project will be financed through roughly $22.6 million in tax-exempt bond financing and $9 million in Chester Fund and CCSA equity.

Reinvestment Fund is providing a $3.5 million bridge loan against the pledges and projected pledges of the Chester Fund’s capital campaign. This bridge loan will help cash flow and support construction until the campaign proceeds are received. CCSA is also less than half a mile from another Reinvestment Fund project, the nonprofit Fare & Square grocery store.

Reinvestment Fund financing is supported by grant funds through the U.S. Department of Education Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities Program. This allows us to offer flexible terms on our loan to CCSA, as our financing serves as a capital campaign bridge loan that is subordinate to the tax exempt bond financing.

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