Mosaica’s Fell Charter granted $6.5 million loan to build new school

By Rebekah Brown (Staff Writer)
Published: May 18, 2012

A $6.5 million federal loan will fund the creation of a long-awaited permanent home for Fell Charter School.

Although Principal Mary Jo Walsh is hoping to accept a “giant, shiny check” at a funding ceremony Wednesday, she said she is just thrilled with the award.

The federal stimulus loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development will fund the creation of a building at 777 Main St. in Carbondale. The school has been operating out of modular buildings and a rental space for the past 10 years.

“It doesn’t feel real yet,” Ms. Walsh said. In 2011, the school was midway through the process of acquiring a loan through the USDA when the money became unavailable.

Pennsylvania USDA State Director Tom Williams will present a check during the ceremony announcing the award at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday at the school’s current location at 27 Fairview St. in Carbondale.

Ms. Walsh said the school will waste no time putting the money to use. She expects the project to go to bid in July and construction to begin in the fall.

The 18,000-square-foot, two-story building, will be able to accommodate 225 students.

The school currently has about 140 students, and Ms. Walsh said she didn’t want to lose the small school feeling in the new building.

“We’ll do some waiting lists so that in August 2013, we’ll be able to take new students,” she said.

The school is in the process of renewing its charter, but Ms. Walsh does not anticipate any problems completing the process.

“At this point, the federal government is saying they think we’ll be around long enough to give us a 40-year loan,” she said. “It will be nice for it to be ours. It will be wonderful for our kids to have a place that’s their own.”

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