What is the importance of facility assessments and how do they influence the development of the Facilities Master Plan? There are several reasons to complete facility assessments during the Master Plan process:
- Facility assessments provide a clear snapshot of the condition of our current facilities. Even though our facilities appear to be in good repair, all of them are more than 50 years old and pressing needs are not always readily apparent to the bystander.
- Facility assessments allow us to develop a maintenance cost schedule for the next 10 years. We need to plan for the cost of replacing roofs, repainting, changing light fixtures or utilities. Keep in mind that the maintenance of a facility, over a 50-year life span, often accounts for 80% of the cost of that facility.
- Facility assessments compare equity between campuses. The methods and pedagogy of educating our children have changed dramatically in the past several decades. It is important for us to understand how our facilities can be modernized and re-purposed to respond to the needs of today’s (and tomorrow’s) generation of learners.
Let’s consider this: As we plan to repair or replace elements of our campuses, should we also consider how this work affects the educational needs of our students? Suppose that we remove and replace all underground utilities at one or more of our sites. If “Outdoor Learning Environments” were an identified element in the Facilities Master Plan, then we may not want to simply replace the grass or paving once the underground utilities are removed. Perhaps, instead, we replace the old surface elements with new outdoor learning labs.
Or maybe we desire to provide air conditioning at one of our older campuses. For energy requirements we will likely need to replace windows with energy efficient glazing, insulate the existing walls and ceilings, and provide updated electrical service to operate the new HVAC system. If we are demolishing the existing walls, are we going to simply put them back in the same configuration that we found them? Or do we want to rebuild them according to the educational specifications in our Facilities Master Plan to better support 21st century learning?
Please take the time to review the Facility Condition Assessment for each of our campuses.