Exploring the World of Real Estate Development with PCSD

Who did you meet with today?

Today, I had the opportunity to meet with Joe Wilson, who is a Project Director, and Scott Thomas, who is the project finance coordinator here at PCSD.

Where do they work? What does the company do?

Pacific Charter School Development is a nonprofit real estate development organization, with a goal of assisting schools on their journey to being a charter school by helping them with anything related to real estate, like finding a permanent facility. PCSD fundamentally builds charter schools from scratch, which means that the organization has many different areas that build up the final product, for example, scouting, finance, or the legal aspects.

What did you learn today? What were some highlights?

During my time with PCSD I learned about the process of how a school called Equitas was built.  As well as how a project finance coordinator manages and deals with different circumstances when it comes to money, which was particularly fascinating because I learned a rich history about a school PCSD worked on and new finance terms.

Some of the highlights of the day included viewing before pictures of Equitas and seeing the complete transformation in person, which provided me with a deeper understanding and appreciation of how much planning and effort went into the project. 

What insights did you gain into the field of real estate development?

One of the key insights I gained was understanding what a budget contingency is. A budget contingency is additional money that is used in case of unexpected costs during development, or in other words, kind of like emergency money in case we go over our budget. This showed me the importance of finance and budgeting because it ensures that a project could continue smoothly, even if unexpected circumstances occur. 

I realized that real estate development involves ensuring that a location is suitable for what it is planned for, which in this case would be a school. This requires communication skills and knowledge because someone has to look at the environmental factors of the property, the utilities, location, infrastructure,  legal issues and more. 

Did you become more interested in the field after today?

After today’s experience, I found myself more intrigued by the field of real estate development because learning about most of the steps that go into planning and building beforehand is interesting. Additionally, seeing the complete transformation of a school that used to be an armored car facility was awesome to see! The exposure has definitely increased my interest in pursuing a career in real estate development.

Joe highlighting a feature at EQ 5/6
Gathering at EQ 5/6
Joe talking about EQ 5/6 facility
Walking the halls of EQ 5/6
The team gathered by the playground at EQ 5/6


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