Legacy’s new school building will help ‘scholars’ in Chicago’s North Lawndale March 1, 2016

By mid-2017, Legacy Charter School will have a new home in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood. The 61,000-square-foot building will allow Legacy to operate a technologically advanced school with the necessary space for its programs.

Calling its students scholars to highlight high expectations, Legacy offers individual instruction for every child, has an extended school day and year, and sets the stage for sustainable academic achievement.

“Legacy is a vibrant, unique learning community in North Lawndale with deep roots and strong wings,” Principal Lisa Kenner said. “Having a facility with the appropriate space, resources, and flexibility to support our ambitious instruction — not to mention fundamental needs in terms of heating, cooling, and technology — will mean the world to our scholars, families, and faculty and staff.”

The new facility is due to the efforts of school officials, local aldermen, families whose children attend the school, and other community leaders. With 500 scholars in pre-K through eighth grade, Legacy reaches an underserved student population where 95 percent are low income and almost entirely African American.

“Legacy is making a very real difference in the lives of its scholars and their families,” said Errol L. Stone, a Legacy board member. “The new facility is designed to fit Legacy’s individualized teaching style as well as to use the latest technology. We could not have done this without IFF, which has been working with us from the very beginning of our quest for a facility — first as a real estate and then financing consultant, and ultimately as a tax credit provider and lender.”

IFF provided a $2 million loan and $15 million in federal and state new markets tax credits. Other sources of financing for the $23.8 million project came from Low Income Investment Fund and JPMorgan Chase. In addition, Legacy raised over $9 million through a capital campaign, and the city of Chicago conveyed most of the vacant land to Legacy.

The school has about 60 full-time employees, most of whom are teachers. During construction, the project will create 250 on-site jobs and an additional 125 off-site jobs. A groundbreaking was held this past November.

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