The Republic | azcentral.com | Brittany Smith
A fund co-managed by retired tennis champion Andre Agassi provided the startup money for a Phoenix charter school to open a second location, officials said.
Eagle College Preparatory Schools’ Harmony campus, 2435 E. Pecan Road, had its ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday.
The Canyon-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund is a for-profit real-estate fund that provides facility funds to the most promising charter schools in the country, said Bobby Turner, the fund’s other co-managing partner. The schools then lease the buildings from the fund for several years until they can buy the facilities.
Agassi, who said he has always had an interest in helping children, was at first uncomfortable with starting a money-making venture. However, he realized the fund would attract more investors, and therefore money, than his name alone could.
“Now, we have a scalable solution to a charter school’s greatest impediment to success, which is the facility itself,” Agassi said.
Unlike school districts, charter-school officials cannot go to voters to fund school construction.
Eagle Harmony was chosen for its unique focus on college preparation and character development, as well as its record of financial and academic success.
“Institutions like this, singularly focused on getting our children into college, are exactly what our city needs,” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said of the project.
The 19,400-square-foot Eagle Harmony campus includes 25 classrooms and serves 180 students, from kindergarten through fourth grade.
“It gives our students the opportunity to thrive with small-group instruction,” said Ariel Elgar, Eagle Harmony’s principal.
Eagle Harmony is the fund’s third investment site. The goal of the fund is to create up to 50,000 school seats in urban areas throughout the U.S. over the next several years.