PC #535 Long-Range Facilities Analysis

BACKGROUND

The Long-Range Facilities Analysis at PC #535 emerged from strategic planning process in Spring 2022. A group of more than 35 Board of Education members, community members, teachers, staff, and administrators met to identify a vision and focus areas for the District. One of the focus areas was buildings and facilities. Specifically, the goal was as follows:

to analyze current facilities and capital project opportunities to provide environments conducive to student learning and efficient operations.

In June 2022, the Board of Education approved an agreement with Cadence Consulting to provide consultation and direction with a Long-Range Facilities Analysis. The purpose is to develop analyses of existing facilities (see Analysis Reports), execute process for community engagement, and identify next steps for improvement. Throughout the 2022-2023 school year and beyond, the Board of Education regularly met to tour the facilities, approve studies, and review reports on the buildings. 

Through this analysis, the Board of Education identified the schools need significant improvements to building systems, safety and security, and learning spaces. We are now at a crossroads and must consider if we should continue to invest in existing buildings or begin closing schools while expanding onto or replacing others. We understand that planning for our schools must reflect the priorities of the community and will collect feedback using the Fall 2023 Community Survey.

NEXT STEPS

The results of the Fall 2023 Community Survey will guide the Board of Education with next steps for improving learning environments. The survey will close on October 4th, 2023, and the results will be reported later this year.

SURVEY RESULTS

Results of the Fall 2023 Community Survey were presented to the Board of Education on November 14th, 2023, at a regular meeting. These results can be accessed here: Fall 2023 Community Survey Results

Map of Schools

ANALYSIS REPORTS

The following reports are being provided for community review. These reports were completed and reviewed by the Board of Education as part of the Long-Range Facilities Analysis.

  • Master Facilities Plan -

    This plan was compiled and updated by the District’s architectural firm, Healy Bender Patton & Been Architects. The document includes a list of all capital investment projects and associated costs over the next 15 years.

  • Facilities Needs Summary - This document created by Cadence Consulting summarizes all current PC #535 facilities, including size, enrollment, and needs.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why is PC #535 providing the community with a survey?

The survey will serve two purposes. First, the District will use data for strategic planning and identify areas of focus and improvement. Second, the District recognizes a need to invest in its facilities. Given the cost of investments, the District seeks community input on whether to continue with its existing schools or develop a plan for closing schools and expanding others.

 

I live within the District. Where do I get a survey?

Surveys are being mailed by School Perceptions, an independent education research firm, to all households within the District's boundaries. These surveys are scheduled to be mailed the week of September 18th, 2023.

What is the District going to do with the survey results from the Fall 2023 Community Survey?

For strategic planning, the survey results will be analyzed by a team of Board members, community members, faculty, staff, and administration to identify areas of improvement and focus for the schools. For facilities, the survey results will be used to determine whether investments should be made in existing buildings or begin closing schools while expanding onto or replacing others. Results from the survey will be made available to the community and public.

 

The capital improvement projects are estimated to be around $60,000,000 but the total approximate cost is $90,000,000. Why?

The master facilities plan identifies infrastructure improvements for the schools. It does not provide estimates for needs beyond general improvement of existing building systems. Preliminary option development includes considering improvements beyond infrastructure in order to develop a scale of magnitude. Examples of other improvements include rerouting of traffic patterns at Putnam County Primary School, updating entrances for security at Putnam County High School and Putnam County Junior High, and updating classrooms.

 

The survey states the most significant improvements are needed at the elementary and junior high schools. Why?

The elementary school (PCES) and junior high (PCJH) are both unique schools. PCES has a section of its building that is 100 years old this year. This section is not used for students because of accessibility and code compliance. PCJH is in a remote setting and has its own well, storage tank, and wastewater treatment plant. These systems make the school more difficult to operate.

 

What will the cost be if the District decides to close buildings?

The District has not yet determined that buildings will be closed. At this time, the District is seeking input from the community to determine a long-range plan for facilities.

 

Does the District have a plan for closing buildings?

The District has not yet determined that buildings will be closed. At this time, the District is seeking input from the community to determine a long-range plan for facilities. Planning will be based on survey results and include opportunities for community input.

 

What would be the focus for improvement if the District keeps four buildings?

The District would utilize the master facilities plan, SEDAC reports, and other findings to create a timeline for improvements of building systems. Along with these improvements, the District would identify priority updates based on survey results. For example, if school safety and security is identified as a priority then updates will be made in that area of the schools.

 

How would transportation be impacted by changes?

The District has a very complicated bus system due to its rural setting with four schools. Some students experience long bus times and multiple transfers. Transportation will be analyzed as part of any long-range planning.

 

What would PC #535 do with old facilities and land?

The District has not yet determined that buildings will be closed. At this time, the District is seeking input from the community to determine a long-range plan for facilities.

 

Can PC #535 use existing funds and funds from area development for maintenance and building?

The District currently has strong financial responsibility and recognizes there is potential future revenue from community development. This revenue will be taken into consideration for all planning. However, due to the scope of needed investments, the District will need to consider a long-range plan for financing since payment for any plan cannot happen at one time.

We know our community is interested in our schools and appreciate your input. If you cannot find answers to your questions, we encourage you to share them by emailing info@pcschools535.org.