A facility master plan provides clear direction to administrators, policy makers, and the community regarding how the district should address facility needs. The plan identifies which buildings to keep, modernize, replace, reconfigure, or repurpose, and in what order (with associated cost) this will be accomplished. A successful facility master plan incorporates four critical components; demographics, educational vision, facility condition, and financial data.
The steps involved in completing a successful facilities master plan include:
Plan for Planning
Prior to developing the Facilities Master Plan, our team will facilitate a plan for planning work session to ensure that there is clear agreement on the objectives and the process to be implemented. The purpose of this initial meeting with the District’s administration is to gain an understanding of the mission and function of the District and to discuss approach.
The plan for planning work session is held to ensure that expectations of the project are understood and there is consensus on the process to be implemented. At this meeting we will discuss roles, functions, responsibilities, anticipate issues, and prepare for the project roll out.
Steering Committee Formation & Meetings
The first step to include stakeholders in the process is to assemble a steering committee. A steering committee facilitates the development and implementation of the facilities master plan process. The committee represents a broad cross-section of school and non-school members of the community.
The role of the steering committee is to provide community representation throughout the process. Responsibilities include review of draft reports, publicity and communication to the general community, review of community dialogue results, and development of options and recommendations to the School Board. The steering committee is not responsible for the final decision in the process.
District data is collected, reviewed, developed and summarized into a database and background report. The data collected or developed by DeJONG-RICHTER includes:
- 10 Year projections developed
- Projections based on live birth data, historical enrollment, housing development, and other community demographics
District Demographic Profile:
- Review of population characteristics
- Employment patterns
- Socio-economic information
- Housing development
- Comparison of District to national and state square footage and school site size standards
- Data from a formal assessment for all school facilities in the district
Review of Programs and Services:
- Review of programs and services
- Summary of current educational programs
- Academic achievement
- School restructuring efforts
- Other relevant program information
Community Dialogue #1
The primary focus of community dialogue #1 is to help establish the educational framework for developing options. After a presentation, community members will respond to individual questionnaires followed by working in small groups to rank and rate suggested criteria to be utilized in facility options development. The dialogue concludes with the groups presenting their results to all participants. Educational framework includes issues that influence the future of education in the District. Examples of issues to be discussed include:
- School size
- Grade configuration
- Magnet programs
- Year-round schools
- Renovation standards
Each district’s educational framework is unique. The parameters used for a District are determined by the results from the Educational Futures Conference, input from the steering committee, and internal District input.
For community members unable to attend the dialogue, a web questionnaire will be available online to ensure full participation from the stakeholders.
Results from the dialogue are tallied and analyzed. A Community Dialogue report is developed and includes results, and written comments from all participants.
Options Development & Work Session
Facility options are developed from the data collected and input gathered from such items as facility condition assessment, Future’s Conference, Enrollment Projections, Capacity Analysis, Community Dialogue #1, GIS, and cost estimates. Appropriate costs associated with options are also developed and are based on cost estimates of the scope of work determined by the condition and educational adequacy assessments. The options developed will include consideration to the following:
- Prioritized list and phasing of potential projects based on assessments
- New facilities to be constructed
- Cost benefits of varying property disposition / use options
- Specific schools considered for closure
- Cost savings projected for each school considered for closure
- Housing / transportation options for displaced students
- The impact of school closures on the District’s reimbursement factor
- The impact of consolidation on class size
- Alternative uses for closed or under-utilized facilities
- The effects of restructuring grade configurations to balance school enrollment
A work session is held with the District to start the first phase of developing options. These options identify the basic scope of the renovations, replacements, additions, new construction, and closures / consolidations, as well as macro costs.
An options packet is then developed and provided to the attendees at Community Dialogue #2. The options packet includes all pertinent planning data and describes each option including basic project scope and cost.
Community Dialogue #2
At Community Dialogue #2 the facility options are shared with the attendees. Participants will review the Options Packets developed and they will then rate each of the options and in small group format, develop a collective response as to the preferred option. Results of Community Dialogue #2 are incorporated into the final facilities recommendations.
Recommendations Development & Work Session
A final work session is held with the District and the Steering Committee to finalize facility recommendations. The recommendations are developed from the data collected and input gathered from a variety of factors such as; facilities assessment, educational adequacy assessments, capacity analysis, educational framework, community dialogues, enrollment projections, GIS, and cost estimates.
The Facilities Master Plan report is the summation document of the entire process. It is intended to give decision makers the information that they need to move the District forward. The document will include executive summaries from each step of the process. These recommendations will consider all of the following:
- Project phasing scenarios / timeline for completion
- School projects in order of priority
- Transition strategies
- Facility condition and educational adequacy
- Steering Committee feedback
- Scope of projects / action to be taken (new construction, renovation, addition, etc.)
- Suggested enrollment / capacity of each school project
- Amount of the school / project, cost estimate, funding scenarios, cash flow, and budgets
- Strategies for updates based on changes during implementation and contingencies for unforeseen circumstances
The District makes its own determination regarding funding mechanisms for the recommendations. Once the funding mechanisms are determined by the District, a ten-year snapshot will be developed providing detailed timelines for recommended projects.
The Facilities Master Plan report and recommendations include:
- Detailed timeline
- New schools to be constructed
- School locations
- School size
- Facilities to be retired
- Action plans to address possible redistribution of students
- Projected student enrollment
The final recommendations is not a stagnant document or a one-time plan. In fact, it should be updated periodically to incorporate building improvements, changes in community demographics or other educational directions. It is important to remember that the Facilities Master Plan is only the first phase in developing projects.