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03.04.23 campus update.

From: Kathy Lyda
Sent: Saturday, March 4, 2023 3:43 PM
To: Info <>
Subject: Young Academy Updates


Dear Firehawk Families,


I hope this email finds each of you well. As we get closer to our new campus move-in date, several families recently requested a mid-year State of the Young. 


What is the State of the Young? 

Typically, at each State of the Young, we cover:


  • New Campus Updates (the work on acquiring a new home has been in process for several years)

  • Fiscal Management

  • Operational Sustainability

  • Connection

  • Enrichment

  • Social and Emotional Health

  • Gifted and Talented Programming

  • Collaboration


A mid-year State of the Young makes perfect sense, as much is happening quickly. Also, we gained many new families this year who did not have the opportunity to attend last year’s State of the Young—so many thanks to those who reached out to request a mid-year update.  


Since this request, we have been working to hold a Semi-impromptu Mid-year Mini State of the Young. As you know, however, we are, errr…a little locationally challenged at the moment. Ideally, we would have liked to hold the meeting prior to Spring Break but were unable to book a space to accommodate a morning or evening meeting.


Date for State of the Young

In place of a before Spring Break meeting, we will hold a Semi-impromptu Not-So-Mid-year Mini State of the Young Thursday, April 6, at our new campus. We will have a morning session at 8:15 and an evening session at 6:00 pm. At this meeting, we will discuss new campus developments, the outcome of the Grow Young With Us capital campaign, and operational sustainability.


But That’s Not Now and We Can’t Wait!

We hear you. We will have an informal Firehawk Family Happy Hour night at 6:00 pm on Thursday, March 7, at HG Supply Company located at SH, 2980, TX-114 Frontage Rd, Trophy Club, TX 76262. We will set up an “Ask Me Anything…Within Reason” corner with Ms. Anglin and Ms. Lyda. The Happy Hour is not an event like the Firehawk Family Trivia Night at Anderson’s but an informal way to help make us available to answer individual questions. If you have not been to HG, it is a family-friendly (and pet-friendly) venue with a large covered porch area.


We know next week is a crazy time for many as the preparations for Spring Break ramp up, but we would love to see you there! It will also be an excellent opportunity to meet fellow families, ask questions, listen to others asking the question you want to ask and provide input.  


OK, but I have questions…many questions:

In the interim, I will briefly address some questions that have been brought forth that will allay some concerns.  


What is the status of the new campus? 

The status changes daily; however, we are still targeting March 27 as our first day of classes within the building. Since my last update, a few delays have occurred, delaying inspections. We do not think this will impact our move-in timeline, but that likelihood exists. We have no control over the inspections other than to ensure all is prepared. We will share more when we know more.


Will we get a preview of the campus before dropping our child off?

Yes. We will hold a Meet the Campus Thursday, March 23, at 6:00 pm. A significant caveat is that all inspections must be conducted and passed so that we have our Certificate of Occupancy. We will all work until the last minute to prepare things and prepare for our scholars! Moving campuses mid-year is an audacious task, and we know it! Therefore, this will not be an actual Open House. And, again, I need to stress that the Meet the Campus date may change


Why do we need a capital campaign?

The Youngified components of the new campus are funded through the capital campaign, which specifically provides for outfitting learning spaces like one would equip a new house upon moving in. Classrooms will be set up with the basics to get the new campus up and running.  


What are the capital campaign funds used for?

The funds raised will provide a unique learning environment geared towards the gifted and talented scholar. In the STEM Lab, you will see things such as a fume hood, high-grade microscopes, lab tables designed for sophisticated lab activities, dedicated storage for chemicals and reagents, new glassware, test tubes, beakers, graduated cylinders, and space to store specimens.


Within the Maker Space, you will see tools such as 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC machines, hand tools, power tools, a sonic screwdriver, metal smithing tools, soldering irons, and furniture designed to facilitate Maker Space projects.


In the Black Box Theater, you will see special lighting, reconfigurable modular stage platforms, a sprinkle of magic, and a green room for performers.


These examples are just a sample of the many items which will enhance the learning journey for our Firehawks.


How long will these funds last until the next ask?

The Phase One funds are intended to furnish the inside of our campus. Phase Two is dedicated to transforming the outside of the campus to meet the needs of our scholars with play structures, a basketball court, outdoor learning stations, a labyrinth, a playing field, and fencing (not the sword-fighting kind, but that would be magnificent).


So…does that mean we won’t have a playground when we move in?

Yes. We have yet to be able to design the outdoor space due to the codes and restrictions which changed the entire design of the new campus. We are very anxious to get the outdoor space built and know that the outdoor space is an essential part of an educational facility.


OK, so where will they play & eat outside? 

We will utilize the open green space behind the new campus slated for the future playing field, set up temporary basketball and four-square courts, and provide outdoor eating areas. We remain committed to providing as much outside time as possible.  The scholars will still have mid-morning recess/break aka Fika, outside lunch and recess, Health Promotion and additional outside brain breaks as needed.


Who is overseeing the expenses?

We are a 501(c)3, not-for-profit organization governed by a Board of Directors. The fiduciary oversight of the academy is a central function of the Board of Directors. In addition to administrative-level budget and resource allocation meetings, our Board of Directors meet monthly to review the overall financial state of the school, current and future operating expenses, and annual and long-term financial modeling. Additionally, our stakeholders have the right to scrutinize our finances as all of our tax filings are open to the public. 


Specific to the building renovation, line-by-line expenses are reviewed by the general contractor, the architect, and the landlord. Ms. Anglin and Ms. Lyda review and approve these expenses and needed change orders each week. These expenses are provided to the board in the form of the overall budget for the project.


What IS the overall budget for the renovation, and how is it funded?

The overall budget for the renovation was estimated to be between $1,300,000 - $1,500,000. The actual renovation costs have come in at around the $1,300,000 range thus far. Still, these costs exclude things such as rewiring for data and internet, architectural fees, city filing fees, moving expenses, etc. A more granular report will be provided at the April State of the Young.


  Three primary sources have funded the renovation:

  1. Net Asset Reserves

  2. Tenant improvement allowance

  3. EANs funds

There needs to be some clarification regarding the subject of a loan. We have not taken out a loan to fund the renovation. 


What happens if we fail to reach the capital campaign goals?

If we cannot raise the total amount of the Phase One funds, we will reallocate and re-prioritize what is needed to finish the year. Some items may need to be deferred. Our primary goal is to get into the new campus with classes up and running without disruption.  


What can we do as stakeholders in the Firehawk community to support the school?

  • Provide some grace as we move two campuses into one in the span of a little over a week while concurrently keeping the school running!  We could have chosen to move in the summer. Logistically, that would be the easiest. But, it is much more important to get out of our thank-goodness-we have-them-but less-than-optimal temporary facilities and into our new home.

  • Encourage contributions to the capital campaign.

  • Thank your child’s teachers. They are superstars working under challenging conditions. The tip of the iceberg is what you and your child see, and that is by design. The behind-the-scenes stress stops at the threshold of the classroom. Assume the best intent and know that our faculty love your children.


We are thrilled to finally be at the stage of moving into our new school home. It has taken us over five years to get to this point, and we cannot wait to see what this new chapter in the life of E.A. Young Academy brings.




Ms. Lyda

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