Facilities Planning

By Kelley D. Carey

Your district is growing and has to catch up. Three new elementary schools are needed, and the superintendent wants to hire an architect so a budget can be developed in time for a spring referendum. The time to start is now.

Sound familiar? Probably.

Planning major construction programs often begins this way, with a call to hurry based on unproven assumptions. The outcome often involves huge wasted expenditures, needlessly repetitive rezoning, and the defeat of bond referendums. Some people may vote to spend little on public education, but my experience is that well-planned construction programs tend to be well received.

Who does facilities master planning in your district now? Consultants on a one-shot contract? Your facilities manager? Architect? Nobody? Do you know?

Your buildings eat up most of your budget -- next to personnel -- so how are expensive construction decisions made? What goes wrong? How can you avoid costly mistakes that undermine the budget and hurt public support?

Let’s examine how you can plan the right way and with the right people. 

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