GREENVILLE, S.C., April 13, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Greenville New Markets Opportunity II (GNMO II), a Community Development Entity (CDE) managed by taxadvantagegroup and Greenville Local Development Corporation in Greenville, S.C., has allocated $13.7 million in New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) to Legacy Charter School for the construction and renovation of facilities in Greenville, SC. The $26.9 million project includes the school's first formal library, a renovated kitchen and dining facility, new classrooms, a double-court gymnasium, and handicap accessibility for the property. Once complete, Legacy will have the capacity to grow its student body to 1430 students, while continuing to prepare students to get to and through college graduation.
"Changing the trajectory for underserved kids won't be simple or fast," explains Legacy's Founder and Chairman William Brown, "and it will take a coordinated community effort like the funding from GNMO II. The opportunity to build our school's first library is tremendous, not only for our students but the entire neighborhood." The school's new library facilities will be available for use by community residents who currently do not have access to a public library.
Legacy Charter School is a non-profit, public K5-12 charter school located in Greenville's Sterling community, a federally designated Low Income Community (LIC). Established in 2010, Legacy currently serves 1,250 students, of which 94 percent are minority and 100 percent qualify for free lunch through the National School Lunch Program. Brown says that the school began from the notion that "all students deserve the chance to receive a world class education, one where they are taught wellness to prepare them for a lifetime of success." As such, Legacy Charter School is the only public school in South Carolina that offers daily physical education for all students. School meals are healthy with fresh fruit and vegetables and whole grains. There are no fried foods, junk foods, or sodas on campus. Teachers model a healthy lifestyle and commit to working out at least three days per week.
The school's wellness policy was implemented to combat the alarming fact that, nationwide, 65 percent of students do not participate in physical activity, and only 2 percent of children eat a USDA healthy diet. The policy is working. As noted in an annual study by Dr. Julian Reed of Furman University, students of Legacy Charter School consistently show significant improvement in cognitive and fitness measurements as compared to control groups in other schools that do not have daily physical education.
"In addition to the continued pursuit of excellence for the children and community Legacy Charter School serves, we are extremely impressed with the school's focus on health, fitness, and nutrition," says taxadvantagegroup President Tammy Propst, who administers the GNMO II fund. "They are setting an important benchmark for other educators in the state and nation to follow."
The GNMO II Fund was established in 2014 with substantial support from U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott and U.S. Congressman Trey Gowdy. The fund invests in qualified borrowers whose projects support job creation, economic mobility, and improve health and wellness services for Qualified Low Income Communities across South Carolina. In addition to serving Legacy Charter School students and the surrounding community, the GNMO II investment will support 249 direct quality jobs, with permanent jobs paying a wage 328 percent higher than the LIC's per capita income of $5.73 per hour.
About GNMO II
Greenville New Markets Opportunity II, LLC (GNMO II) is a Community Development Entity under the provisions of the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, which since its inception, has been awarded $73 million in allocation of New Markets Tax Credits. GNMO II's mission is to serve and provide investment capital for operating businesses and real estate development projects in low-income communities across South Carolina. GNMO II affiliates are the Greenville Local Development Corporation and taxadvantagegroup.
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