In July 2008, CDF closed its first transaction, providing $15 million in New Markets Tax Credits to the Charles H. Shaw Technology & Learning Center, a public charter high school that occupies the former Sears power plant in Chicago’s Homan Square.
Encompassing 95,000 square feet of classroom and office space, the school returned an important historic structure to productive use. Space is also allocated for local community groups and organizations. The curriculum focuses on science and “green” technology, and the building achieved LEED Platinum certification. It utilizes an adjacent geothermal field on a former CSX railroad right-of-way for heating and cooling.
The project has won numerous awards, including the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Outstanding Non-Profit Neighborhood Real Estate Project, Preservation Project of the Year from Landmarks Illinois, Most Innovative Adaptive Reuse from the National Housing and Rehabilitation Association, and Patron of the Year from the Chicago Architecture Foundation.
The school opened in August 2009 with approximately 250 students. It currently serves over 550 students and is anticipated to grow to more than 700 enrollees. The school is run by the Noble Network of Charter Schools which currently operates 18 schools serving 11,000 students throughout Chicago.