Report of the Working Group on the feasibility study for APEEE IV to purchase the building 78 adjacent to the school
- The Context
Following the mandate given to the Board by the General Assembly on the 4th of December 2018, the APEEE IV launched a call of expression of interest to set up a Working Group so to assess the feasibility of purchasing a building adjacent to the school. The main reason for proposing the option of purchasing the building was to explore the possibility to strengthen in the coming years the quality and quantity of services and activities that we, parents, consider necessary for our children. This happens in a situation in which the school is reaching its full capacity. Already this year, the APEEE was not in a position to fulfil the requests of extra curricular activities for 155 pupils and we expect this number to increase of around 130 pupils (to reach a total of 258) for next year.
As many of you are also aware, we have issues with the time schedule for the canteen to be able to meet the demand of all subscriptions. Today our children have barely 20 minutes for their lunch while the adequate timing should be around 30/40 minutes. The situation will not be improving next year as we are expecting at least 90 additional subscriptions for the canteen service. The optimal solution would be to have two additional shifts for Kindergarten and at least one additional shift for Primary.
We would like to thank all the parents that accepted to be part of the working group and that have contributed to the analysis allowing the Working Group to quickly reach to a conclusion. In particular we would like thank Alice Vigneron, Cristian Alferaru, Dominik Schwarzer, Ingrid Manger who looked at the Architectural aspects, Judith Ecker who has provided a valuable expertise on the environmental and soil matters, Luigi Rosario Filippo Sciusco and Georges Meyers who have supported the financial analysis, and Nick Heilegger who focused on security matters. The Board Members involved in the working group were Graziella Rizza (overall coordination), Pénélope Vlandas and Ilies Luca Dussart (extracurricular activities), Iulian Vasile (security) and Tobias Stricker canteen). The APEEE Director, Eric Piettre, provided assistance and guidance supported by Arturo Herrera for extracurricular activities and Renan Minoche for the canteen.
- Main findings
- There are serious concerns on the environmental aspects which may require additional costs/time to depollute the field as previously there was a printing shop.
- The Architects suggested that the costs of either building a new structure (not advised as this would lead to a smaller area than the one currently available) or to restore the current structure would be similar if not higher. The price for restoration would be not less than 1,500 EUR per SqM. Taking into account that we have 1.200 SqM, the minimum estimated cost for the restoration would reach around 1.8 to 2 million EUR.
- Based on the expertise requested, the building has been estimated at around 400.000 EUR while the requested price by the owner is set at 790.000 EUR. There is therefore a major discrepancy. If we assume that an agreement of the sale price could be around 650.000, the minimum total investment to go for this option would range around 3 million EUR without taking into account the cost for the site decontamination.
- On top of this it needs to be added the costs for the sanitisation of the ground. A sufficiently precise estimation would need a more detailed analysis of the site and its history.
- in addition, the purchase of the building would represent an added-value if a direct internal access to the new building from the school could be possible and if the new building would be included in the security perimeter of the school. The APEEE has written to the Secretariat General to explore this feasibility. At the moment, the information provided informally to the APEEE leads to the conclusion that it does not seem to be possible. Finally, even if the authorisation was provided by the School and the Secretariat General, the Commune should also give its approval on the new use of this building, which should not be taken as a given. Additionally, costs linked to ensuring security measures should not to be underestimated as they may increase the cost of investment.
- Taking into account the financial aspect, the benefit of additional services rendered is offset the high investment, leading the APEEE to ask for at least a 15/20 year loan to a bank. Taken into account the fact that the APEEE may not be considered a good payer by a bank, there could also be issues in having access to a long-term credit.
- To conclude, the cost benefit analysis lead the Working Group to provide a negative opinion on the purchase of this building. From a financial perspective, the benefit of additional services rendered would be offset the high investment required. The APEEE would need to ask for at least a 20 year loan to a bank. Taken into account the fact that the credit worthiness of the APEEE may not be considered excellent by a bank, there could be also issues in having access to a long-term credit.
- The option to buy the building should be disregarded as too costly, risky and complicated.
- The APEEE IV should discuss with the school on possible options/alternatives to ensure meeting the demand for extra curricula as of next year. The APEEE IV should also consider alternatives to render services with external providers.
- The APEEE IV should discuss with the School Management on possible solutions to improve the canteen needs so to be able to enhance the quality of service. The Architect team can be available to study and propose alternative options.
- The APEEE IV should discuss with the APEEE staff to see how to modify the existing offices to better meet their needs. The Architect team can be available to study and propose alternative use of existing space.
- The APEEE Board shall define, based on the inputs provided by the financial group, a prudent and safe investment strategy that would protect the value of the amounts held and, at the same time, satisfy the liquidity requirements of the APEEE. It is highly recommended that this strategy is analysed together with the representatives of the other APEEEs in Bruxelles and / or with Interparents, the umbrella association for the Parent Associations of the European Schools.