Heidi Hamilton, Chief Real Estate, Facilities, and Legal Officer
Inwood, New York

Amber Charter School

A Time to Grow
“Amber is 100% focused on one thing: the students. We are a school that is connected to the community.” Since its founding in 2000, Amber Charter School has reflected the neighborhoods it serves through both its student and teacher demographics. “We have been diverse from top to bottom from the beginning,” explained Heidi Hamilton, Chief Real Estate, Facilities, and Legal Officer. With such a strong existing bond to the community, it was time for the school to grow its reach by adding an additional building to serve more students.

Located in Inwood, New York, the new facility would be Amber’s third building within its network. To complete the project, Heidi knew the right funding was crucial. “We had already been talking with Civic Builders and when we heard about the Facilities Investment Fund, we told them we were interested.”

An Impactful Transformation
“The funding was life changing. Without that support, we would never have been able to take a building and expand into that third school.” While the location was ideal, the property’s conditions had required significant renovations. “The space had not had any care in decades. But with the Facilities Investment Fund loan, we turned it into a modern, high-functioning school.” For Amber, the impact was transformative. “The new building allowed us to double the student population served and to finally have a middle school. Now we can be with the students beyond fourth grade and have more impact.”

A Space for Opportunity
On top of additional classrooms, Amber’s new school features brand new essential facilities. “We now have a gym and a full separate cafeteria which we did not have in the other schools. We also have additional support spaces for staff.” The school is a space for Amber to strengthen its team of educators. “A new building means more leadership opportunities.” Lastly, the overall growth from a third building enabled Amber to qualify for a Charter School Growth Fund grant, which will provide them with funding over the next five years.

As Amber Charter School Kingsbridge Middle School opened its doors this fall for 120 additional students, it is evident that monumental change has already occurred for the school community. “Now I can look back on something that was a game changer for the school and that contributed to its significant growth and ability to educate more children.”

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