ALPHARETTA, Ga. – After three years of trying to secure a permanent home for itself, Fulton charter school Amana Academy has closed on the purchase of the 100,000-square-foot Alpharetta Square shopping plaza on Main Street where it has been operating since 2007.
The school was able to secure more than $8.6 million in bonds without the use of any county or school district capital program dollars to acquire the property. With this purchase, Amana Academy has joined a handful of chartered public schools capable of building or purchasing their own facilities.
In addition to purchasing the 10.66-acre site, the school intends to use the proceeds from the bonds to renovate 18,000 square feet of the plaza for new middle school classrooms and labs in time for the new school year. Evergreen Construction, which Fulton County Schools used to build Cambridge High School, was chosen by Amana to complete the middle school renovation project.
“What helped us was that we had solid financial standing, strong academic results and an ethic of transparency with our authorizers – Fulton County Schools and the Georgia Department of Education,” said Ehab Jaleel, the school’s executive director and the school’s principal. “Ninety-five percent of our 660 students live in North Fulton, mostly Alpharetta and Roswell, and they are familiar with our current location. It really works for us, because it allows for our anticipated growth, and because of the school’s close proximity to 95-acre Wills Park, downtown Alpharetta and business partners who can support our Expeditionary Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education initiative.”
In December 2012, Amana Academy successfully completed the Georgia Department of Education’s site approval process. It then secured approval for the issuance of bonds to fund the project via the Development Authority of Fulton County and the Fulton County Board of Commissioners. With these approvals in-hand, Amana Academy was able to obtain the bond money needed to purchase the property this April.