Thursday, April 28, 2016

MPA Facility Update
April 2016

As we enter into the 3rd trimester of the school year, we are already so proud of the amazing achievements and wonderful events that have taken place within our community.  Our students have been proudly participating and often earning placements in Math Competitions, Chess Tournaments, Power of the Pen, Destination Imagination, National History Day, Science Fair, and Invention Convention. We have watched our wonderfully talented students showcased in the choir and band concerts, 3rd grade play, and 7/8th grade in The Dust Bowl Museum, the culminating activity in reading “The Grapes of Wrath”. The 5/6th grade social studies classes are enthusiastically receiving responses to their letters written to local government officials, as well as the President of the United States. (Look for the framed letter and pictures, outside of Mrs Veccia’s office.) We look forward to what amazing activities the 3rd trimester holds for us!

While the temperature has been fluctuating and the flowers don’t know if they should bloom now or wait, your Board of Directors is continuing to move forward with our plans for MPA’s new campus site.

Next School Year
Let’s get the answer to the question we know is on everybody’s mind – have we finalized the sublease agreement to remain in our current building next year? We are glad to be able to share that the Board approved executing the sublease agreement at its last regular meeting. This is a one-year agreement that will allow us to remain at our current location next school year. Both the St. Mel Parish and Cleveland Catholic diocese made this exception (they are not typically supportive of sublease arrangements) based on MPA’s strong positive relationship with the parish. While there are additional final signatures and processes that will need to take place, we are confident with the intentions of all parties and are making plans accordingly for the summer and next school year.


Financing
We continue to work with our financial consultant and a team of lenders who are all working diligently to get this project closed. There are now 6 different lenders involved – 2 mission-focused lenders, 2 traditional banks (tax credit investor and county loan investor), Cuyahoga County, and the Community Development Entity (CDE) who chose our project for a New Market Tax Credit allocation. We recently attended a board meeting where the county loan was approved and received a term sheet from one of the traditional banks. Our project is on the agenda for upcoming credit committee meetings for the other lenders.


Builders/Construction
Since the last update we received bid proposals from several builders. Our Board selected Geis Construction, and they have been engaged in a value engineering process for several weeks now. The goal is to get the project costs aligned with the budget. This process is estimated to be complete in the next week or two and will enable the lenders to include that information in their proposals to their respective credit committees.


Funding Opportunities
Progress has been made in several areas for additional funding opportunities.
1.           Charter School Facilities Grant (CSFG). The 2014-15 report cards are available and we are happy to say that our scores demonstrate that we qualify for this opportunity. This is a matching grant, so we will need to show our part if we are awarded. We will keep you apprised on the progress towards our application.
2.           State Historic Tax Credits (SHTC). We have resubmitted the application for the SHTC. We are hopeful that the third time's a charm! The announcement of the approved projects are anticipated by the end of June.
3.           Ohio Capital Bill/Partnership with CSU.  This is moving forward but the timing is further off.

Remember, while all of these possibilities are exciting, none of them are included in the current funding model.  Success on any of them will be a bonus and allow us to further outfit the building and complete more spaces.

Upcoming Community Forum
The next Community Meeting will be Monday, April 25th, 6:30-8:00 p.m. in the Cafetorium. Updates on the new facility, summer activities and the upcoming school year will be provided.


Engage in THIS MOMENT– Build It, Fill It, and Pay For It
Our volunteer committee members and staff have made amazing progress on all fronts. If you have not yet found a way to engage, please reach out to our volunteer Project Manager, Melissa Vlasak, who can connect you. The three main areas are:
1)          Build it - Facility Expansion Committee (FEC), Fraser Hamilton, Chair
            Our next FEC meeting is Thursday, April 7th, from 6:30 - 8:00pm at the school.
2)          Fill it - Jennifer Ingraham, Marketing & Admissions Coordinator
            We are looking to expand our Volunteer Marketing Committee with anyone that has a marketing background. We need the Creative, Planning, and Executing type of people involved with branding, marketing, social media, and the website.
3)          Pay for it - Development & Community Relations Committee, Amanda Ross, Chair & Kelly Nelson, Capital Campaign Chair
            The Capital Campaign has been kicked off to the Board of Directors. Keep an eye out for details on how you can participate at the ground floor of this critical effort. More information to come soon!

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to MPA. Our community is the driving force behind all of our efforts. We simply cannot do it without you.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

We Own It!!!

What an awesome MPA moment - We own it!

The purchase of the West 53rd Street property was completed March 2, 2015!  

Design is progressing frantically as we rush to meet a deadline for submission to the Ohio Historic Preservation Office in hopes of being awarded State Historic Preservation Tax Credits (which could be worth over 20% of the project cost to us).

Watch for the FUTURE HOME OF MENLO PARK ACADEMY banner to be flying soon!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Safety & Security


One of the board’s top priorities is student and staff safety. Part of our due diligence on any potential new location for MPA is to review the crime statistics. One of our Facilities Expansion Committee members who is an officer with the GCRTA police force has obtained crime data for both our current site on Triskett and the proposed site on W. 53rd Street & Walworth. The crime statistics below are based on the hours between 0600 and 1800 (6 am to 6 pm), as these hours are when employees, students and/or parents would most likely be at either site. For each area, similarly sized surrounding areas were utilized in gathering the data.

The data shows a lower level of overall crime in the Walworth neighborhood. Similar patterns are revealed when the crime data is broken down into several crime categories.


2011
2012
2013
2014*
Triskett
W. 53rd
Triskett
W. 53rd
Triskett
W. 53rd
Triskett
W. 53rd
Thefts
49
43
57
37
58
49
60
32
Assaults
27
25
23
24
28
26
20
18
Burglaries
21
25
21
20
25
24
27
10
Robberies
2
5
4
10
5
7
7
6
Veh.Thefts
6
10
5
10
10
6
7
2
Intimidation
10
10
7
6
22
14
17
6
*2014 data through October 22, 2014

Crime data for the same range of dates were also reviewed for the hours of 1800 - 0600 (6 pm to 6 am) pertaining to burglaries, breaking and entering and other similar crimes against property. This comparison helps show how both neighborhoods fare with regards to the buildings being broken into after hours. While both areas had low overall numbers for the same nearly 4-year period, crimes against property in the W. 53rd neighborhood were 45% lower than the current Triskett location (34 versus 61).

Because we recognize that these statistics require analysis. It is important to note that the W. 53rd neighborhood is quite different from the Triskett neighborhood in that the W. 53rd area is more isolated with fewer residential units. More restrictive access – there are only limited ways to get to the site, coupled with fewer buildings and residents of the area, limits the opportunities available to the criminal element. The area is buffered to the south by a Norfolk Southern right of way that limits ingress/egress into the area, while Interstate 90 does the same to a lesser extent just north of the neighborhood.

Considering the size of each neighborhood and the lengthy time span covered by the data reviewed, neither location suffers from any rampant crime problem. Neither area had a single homicide during the nearly 4-year time frame, both averaged less than half a serious sex-crime during this time, and between the two areas just over one weapon’s possession arrest a year was made (five for the current location, one for the proposed). Overall, based on the city crime data alone, the immediate surrounding neighborhood for the W. 53rd location appears to be the less crime afflicted area.