Construction of a 6-story facility with 16 classrooms, commercial kitchen & cafeteria, gym, green roof Received charter modification to use former location for an elementary school: The Equity Project Charter School (TEP) first opened in September 2009 with the goal of closing the achievement gap between disadvantaged students and their higher-income peers.
Currently, the middle school serves 480 students and operates out of 30 classroom trailers. Washington Heights, the neighborhood around TEP, has a 25.6% poverty rate. Additionally, 89% of TEP students are eligible for free or reduced lunches. TEP believes that exceptional teachers are the most important factor in achieving educational equity for low-income students, as a result they invest heavily in the salaries and the professional development of their teachers. The Equity Project is planning to build a $37 million middle school facility from the ground up, less than a mile from their current site.
The new facility will include 20 classrooms, a full kitchen and cafeteria, a regulation-size gym, a performance space for TEP’s music program, and outdoor spaces for dining, recreation, and gardening.
The financing for the project was made possible through $12.27 million in New Markets Tax Credits allocations from The Community Builders ($7 million), LISC ($3.7 million), and Capital One ($2 million), a $17.25 million loan from Deutsche Bank’s Community Development Finance Group and LISC, and a $2.7 million bridge loan from LISC and Building Hope. Capital One is also providing $4.3 million in NMTC equity.