FRANKLIN — The Benjamin Franklin Educational Foundation (BFEF) recently hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the new home of the Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public School (BFCCPS), which is located at 500 Financial Park.
The 72,000-square-foot facility will open to 708 students on Tuesday.
The Benjamin Franklin Educational Foundation secured funding for the new school primarily through a $24,550,000 tax-exempt bond issued by MassDevelopment and purchased by Citizens Bank with participation by HarborOne Bank, Websterfive Bank and Radius Bank.
The bond financing was supplemented with a $2 million loan provided by The Property and Casualty Initiative. Project management of the new facility was provided by Daedalus Projects, Inc. and the building was designed by the Boston based architectural firm Arrowstreet, Inc.
Donald Tappin, president of the BFEF, welcomed attendees to the event and thanked the members of the BFEF with a special focus on the leadership team that managed the expansion project with both tenacity and perseverance. Tappin shared that “The foundation board is extremely excited to see what the future holds for BFCCPS. We are building upon the school’s already proud heritage. Having a home of its own offers limitless possibilities for their students, faculty and staff.”
During the event, Gerald Cimmino, the treasurer of the BFEF, announced that the construction of the school’s gymnasium is slated to begin in October, with completion of the project expected in the spring of 2020.
Heather Zolnowski, the executive director of the Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter School, expressed her gratitude to the volunteer members of the project’s leadership team for the time, energy and determination they poured into the project.
“This building affords us the ability to strengthen our academic program, to build hands on experiences into our academic goals and objectives, and to provide after hours programming to support our students and families. This new property will allow us to strengthen the culture we have built over the last 24 years. I am so incredibly grateful to everyone who had a part in bringing this dream to fruition.”
Special awards were issued to Roger Stone, senior vice president at Citizens Bank, as well as the Tappin and Cimmino families for their dedication to the school over the last seven years of the expansion project.
Following the ceremonial ribbon cutting invited guests received guided tours of the facility led by members of the Educational Foundation and school board, as well as school administration.
The school opened in 1995 and is one of the original 13 charter schools in Massachusetts. Priority in the school’s annual enrollment lottery is given first to siblings of current students, then to residents of Bellingham, Blackstone, Franklin, Holliston, Hopedale, Medway, Mendon, Milford, Millis, Millville, Norfolk, Plainville, Upton, Walpole, and Wrentham.
The educational program at BFCCPS offers a strategic partnership with parents, foreign language instruction, commitment to arts education, character education, and community service activities.
For the 2019-2020 academic year, BFCCPS has increased enrollment from 50 students to 92 students per grade in kindergarten through grade five. Applications for the 2020-2021 school year will go live on Nov. 1.