Bank of America’s Bracebridge IV building will be used to house the soon-to-be created nonprofit Community Education Building.
The 282,000 square-foot building, which looks more like a resort hotel than an office building, will be transformed by the Longwood Foundation into a home for charter schools and other education programs.
Bank of America’s Chip Rossi announced the donation in the building’s glass-enclosed atrium this morning. He says the building will be focused on improving education for “those schools that are new or existing schools that have infrastructure needs.” The facility will also house nonprofit organizations that have a focus on education.
“This is really an unprecedented, generous, thoughtful, impactful donation that’s going to be a game changer for education in the city of Wilmington,” said Thére du Pont, president of the Longwood Foundation. The final transfer of the building to the foundation is expected to happen in early 2013. “We plan on using this building as an opportunity for high performing charter schools in the city, to expand existing charter schools, for new charter schools that want to come into the city or expand from elsewhere in the state, here and to bring in new models that are proven in other areas.”
Du Pont says the foundation will be picky when it comes to approving schools to move into the facility. “We will implement a rigorous testing process to screen the tenants for the building. We want to make sure we’re bringing and improving the quality of schools in the city, and not just adding schools to the city.”
Bank of America employees who currently work in the building will move to other facilities either within the Wilmington campus, or to other Bank of America locations in Delaware. And those employees will soon have some new co-workers. In addition to announcing the donation, Bank of America leaders also announced plans to hire 500 new workers in Delaware over the next three years.
Governor Jack Markell says he was thrilled by the announcement. “They approached this problem, on the one hand as hard-nosed business people, but on the other hand, as incredibly decent, thoughtful human beings.” Markell says some people think those two qualities are mutually exclusive, but he says the leaders at Bank of America are “great business people and are great human beings.”