Noble Network celebrates grand opening of first STEM academy among campuses May 1, 2015

Community leaders and public officials including Gov. Bruce Rauner gathered April 17 for the grand opening of the ITW David Speer Academy, the first science, technology, engineering, and math high school in Chicago’s Noble Network of Charter Schools.

The Belmont Cragin area school, which opened in August 2014 to a founding class of nearly 300 freshman, is named in honor of David Speer, former chairman and chief executive officer of ITW.

The $22.4 million project was made possible with $8 million in new markets tax credits secured by IFF from BMO Harris, with JPMorgan Chase as the equity investor. IFF packaged the NMTC financing by identifying the NMTC allocation source, negotiating terms, and assisting with the financing structure and closing. Other funding sources include a $5.7 million loan from BMO Harris Bank and a $15 million donation from ITW.

IFF also provided real estate services for Noble’s first all-new construction school. By helping Noble open 11 of its 16 campuses, IFF has assisted the network in all aspects of its facilities and financing needs, from finding suitable sites for campuses and negotiating their lease or purchase to overseeing design and providing oversight during construction.

Since 2006, IFF has provided Noble with $6.8 million in direct loans, packaged $51 million in NMTCs, and leveraged $67 million in tax-exempt bond financing at more favorable rates and terms through its charter school credit enhancement program.