Taking on Today's Challenges to Improve Outdated School Buildings
Many Michigan school boards and schools districts are facing the same problem, outdated buildings with fewer students and a community that already feels burdened by taxes. Asking tax payers to take on a bond to make school improvements seems like it would be a big challenge. Without the right information and resources, it is a much bigger challenge.
There have been numerous studies done over the years to determine the impact of worn out schools on students and teachers. In The Department of Education’s, “Impact of Inadequate School Facilities on Student Learning”, the author reports that malfunctioning equipment, ventilation, heating/cooling systems, and lighting, as well as deteriorating buildings directly affect the focus of the students and the teacher’s ability to teach. And as you probably know, engaged students in the classroom are less likely to skip school to seek other less than desirable things to do. Plus it's easier to retain teachers who feel they are making a difference in their students.
So where do school board members start when they need to invest in their school? They start by conducting a facility or feasibility study. The best long term planning for schools starts with this a facility study. This process includes a third party review of your buildings to determine where the biggest gaps are in order to bring outdated systems current and functional, make buildings more efficient, plus establish a budget to complete the updates. Once you have your answers, you can start formalizing your plan to approach the community.
During a Facility Study, school districts should have evaluated:• Architectural, structural, mechanical and electrical engineering disciplines of existing facilities
• Existing conditions and plans
• Current code requirements
• Current curriculum as it relates to space utilization
• Options regarding new construction vs. renovation
• Present costs estimates for building renovation and new construction
You may wonder, who does facility studies or how do I find a firm to complete my study? Typically a team of your Architect and Construction Manager will help guide the school district through the study. As a Construction Manager, Wolgast has conducted facility studies for more than a hundred school districts throughout Michigan. Not only do we evaluate the facilities, we assess the district’s needs based on enrollment, age, ability and activities of the students, curriculum objectives and instructional methods utilized. Our team of experts can help complete these assessments and upon their completion provide options for the district to decide what the best scenario is in order to reach its goals.
Bond Campaign Resources provided by Wolgast as your CM:
• Facility Study – as described above.
• Campaign Assistance – our Educational Facility Consultants are former school superintendents who have been through campaigns themselves numerous times. We work with you and the architect to formalize a plan and message to take to your community.
• Communication Development – need a postcard or brochure to convey your message? We can help design and print marketing materials for you.
• Review of Funding Options – there are several options out there to help offset the cost to taxpayers and Wolgast can walk you through the process to obtain available funds.
Call Rich Ramsey or Tom Watson for more information, today – 800-WOLGAST (800-965-4278).