The Royal Palm Beach Village Council approved a resolution Thursday, Nov. 18 that will allow the Western Academy Charter School, currently located at 650 Royal Palm Beach Blvd., to move to the building vacated by the old Palms West Charter School earlier this year.
Western Academy is seeking to move into the old Palms West Charter School location at 12031 Southern Blvd., which was previously a vacant Albertsons store before being renovated into a school 10 years ago.
To make the move, Western Academy will need to make significant improvements to the facility. Western Academy is seeking bonds through the nonprofit Arizona Industrial Development Authority not to exceed $17 million to improve and expand the 61,000-square-foot location.
The resolution from the council is a requirement of the bond application.
Dawn Auerbach, business manager at Western Academy, said the resolution is a necessary condition to approve the bonds that the longtime local charter school needs to move into the new facility.
Part of the bond process requires that the borrower must receive approval from the governing body in which it is located, the Village of Royal Palm Beach, confirming that the project is beneficial to the community.
Attorney Claudia Capdesuner representing Western Academy said there is a bond issuance underway through the Arizona Industrial Development Authority that will enable the bond issue.
“That authority has the ability to issue bonds, and those proceeds, once they are received, will make their way to a loan to Western Academy, which will then use those loan proceeds to make improvements to the project,” Capdesuner said.
Mayor Fred Pinto asked for confirmation that the resolution has no financial commitment from the village and that the resolution is a necessary part of the school receiving bond funds to be tax exempt under the IRS Code.
“There’s no financial obligation,” Capdesuner said. “It’s simply that the project is approved here and beneficial to the community.”
Councilwoman Selena Samios asked about Western Academy’s plans to relocate.
“It seems from the outside that the properties are roughly the same size,” Samios said. “Are you expanding, and that’s why you want to move? Is that a bigger property and you want more students coming in?”
Auerbach said that Western Academy currently has 560 students.
“This will be a four-year growth, and we will be up near 800 students,” she said, adding that the school will have the same grades, K through 8, as it does now.
Village Attorney Keith Davis said approval of the resolution would not present any exposure for the village.
Councilman Jeff Hmara said he felt the move is ideal for Western Academy, which is currently located in the Royal Plaza at the northeast corner of Southern and Royal Palm Beach boulevards. “Now you guys can walk in and take it to the next level,” he said.
Samios made a motion to approve the resolution, which carried 5-0.