The day I secured a new home for my microschool was both exhilarating and nerve-wracking. Let me take you on a rollercoaster ride through this transformative experience.
The process started back in September of 2023 when a property that I had had my eye on finally got listed. The problem was I did not yet have the funds to make the purchase.
I was able to work with the Small Business Administration and a local group offering loans to small businesses to secure the funds to purchase the building.
All of that was a whirlwind in itself as I had to convince the seller to go under contract without a loan guarantee. As part of this I agreed to take the building knowing that I would be taking some risk in doing so.
Just before Thanksgiving I was able to close on the building securing a new location that would allow my school to grow.
I set a deadline of January 8th to have the school ready for students to start in. This date was important for me as my contract at the location I was running the school from would be up. I set aside every day of the two week winter break to work on the new building. It needed more time than I had allotted.
I quickly found that the plumbing was rusted through in several locations and that the wiring in the building was a mix of modern and 1900s knob and tube. This meant that I had no working toilet and no electricity in the rooms that I hoped to have ready to start students in. Adding to this I also found that the entry stairs that I hoped could be repaired needed to be removed and replaced.
With the help of my families and the community I worked many long days and evenings to do all I could to get enough done to allow my students to start in this new building on January 8th.
There were many days that I had a nagging voice in the back of my head that said I had taken on more than I could handle, but I refused to become discouraged. Each day I would work to focus on overcoming one challenge we had found. That said I never expected it to take all of two weeks to get the bathroom ready for use.
The hardest day was the 7th when I had to put a cap on projects and move all of my school materials from the space I had rented to the new school building. Even with the help of others I worked until 2 am getting the last of the materials from one place to another.
With very little sleep I went into Monday January 8th without much of a plan other than to let the student experience the new space. Even without everything I had wanted to have completed, walls still need painted, shelves need built, and the front steps were missing, there was a noticeable change for the better. We all could feel a greater sense of ownership and a freedom that can come with that.
The days are already a blur and I am not sure where most of the cuts on my hand came from, but the positive change in the atmosphere that comes from being in “our” school building is worth everything.
I just want others to know that it may not be a simple step to take moving to own your own school building. Consider the cost it will take financially, physically, and emotionally before taking that step.