ICYMI: Cooper Foundation looking to build Renaissance School by using existing Lanning Square School plans

In case you missed it, my story Saturday talked about some of the behind-the-scenes of the Renaissance School (Urban Hope Act) project proposals. Cooper Foundation has been leading the way by getting a head start on plans...

Six weeks after Gov. Christie came to Camden to sign the Urban Hope Act - opening the doors for nonprofits to build and run mostly publicly funded schools in the state's poorest and lowest-performing districts - one Philadelphia development company had already started to dig for documents.

KMS Development Partners - a construction consultant working with the Cooper Foundation, the charitable arm of Cooper University Hospital - filed an Open Public Records request to the state Schools Development Authority on Feb. 27 asking for drawings and specifications for the "proposed Lanning Square School," whose construction the state pushed off its priority list after Christie came into office in 2010.

Those plans, for what was to have been a traditional public school, were drawn up by NK Architects with taxpayer money.

The state granted the request March 6, giving KMS a two-month head start over development and consulting firms that remained uninformed of the specifications until mid-May, when the Camden Board of Education issued its Request for Proposals (RFP) for up to four so-called renaissance schools as defined by the Urban Hope Act.

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