TECH Freire Charter School, a new charter high school in North Philadelphia will open in fall 2016 with financing from Reinvestment Fund.
TECH Freire is created by the founders of the high-performing Freire Charter School, a long-time Reinvestment Fund borrower. Building on Freire’s 16 years of success, TECH Freire will provide a specialized college preparatory program that incorporates computer programming and entrepreneurship to prepare students to for the workplace of the future.
TECH Freire’s new home is a historic building that was constructed in 1924, but that has been largely vacant in recent years. In addition to more than 20 new classrooms, specialty rooms, offices, kitchen, and gymnasium, each floor will feature “maker spaces” fronting Broad Street to showcase student projects along a major thoroughfare.
In addition to providing $8.3 million in senior financing in partnership with Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Reinvestment Fund also provided a $658,000 subordinate loan to the project. Our financing is also supporting energy measures; estimates indicate that the renovated building’s total annual energy consumption will be 54% less than the average school.
TECH Freire will have a city-wide enrollment policy, but will reserve 60% of its seats for students living in Philadelphia neighborhoods identified by the school district for strategic charter school development. The target neighborhoods have large minority and low-income populations and are in highest need of quality education options.
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 TECH Freire, as our financing has a longer than typical interest only period while the school ramps up enrollment and has a higher than standard loan to value ratio.