What is a Facility Master Plan?
Facility master planning is often referred to as a “roadmap” for the future of your school district, specifically related to its physical spaces. It is aligned with your district’s mission, vision and values and, at the same time clearly articulates the district’s goals. The “Plan” should include the key events, tasks, milestones, timelines, and all associated costs for reaching your destination – a wall-to-wall inventory and assessment of all of your physical spaces. It should detail necessary upgrades and renovations to existing school facilities; identify needs if any exist for new buildings – all of which would be alignment with the district’s mission and vision.
A Facilities Master Plan provides your district with information about current and future needs for student housing, quality of the existing facilities, and facilities renovation and expansion requirements to support the district’s educational and programmatic goals. The plan’s goal is to assess and evaluate the future needs of the district after taking into account the current state of facilities.
The most successful master plans are those that are inclusionary i.e., they demand the full input of the community. By engaging stakeholders in planning for the future of local education, the process serves as a unifying agent that helps bring the community’s needs and desires into sharp focus for district leadership while at the same time building support for its goals.
Why do I need one?
California Department of Education (CDE), Title V, requires districts seeking state matching funds from the State’s School Facilities Program (SFP) to commission and finalize a facility master plan. The State Allocation Board (SAB) requires districts seeking matching state bond funding receive approval from CDE as part of the application for funding procedures. The importance of a plan cannot be overemphasized.
Creating and maintaining a current master plan sets up your K-12 school district and ultimately your students for success. It aligns the district’s facilities with its future educational program, core values, and goals. It supplies flexibility and options that will allow you to pivot to best serve your students and community as needs and educational goals change over the coming years.
We often share with our clients “not having a plan means any road will get you where you want to go, eventually.” The master plan can help K-12 school districts achieve greater equity for students across schools. The plan helps your district craft a unified vision throughout so that students have the same access and opportunities as any other school in your district.
We recommend and encourage districts to commission a new facility master plan every five to 10 years. The plan should include provisions and policies that should be reviewed and updated every year. Systems and equipment reach their life cycle at different times throughout the life of your plan. Projects will be completed. Resources will be exhausted; but your plan must remain as “fresh” as possible. Reviewing the plan annually, with the board in a public meeting, allows the accomplishments to be shared with the community while at the same time identifying any new needs that have arisen. Members of your community will appreciate knowing the district listened, addressed, and considered their needs and input, and tried to incorporate them into future plan updates.
This systematic review and planning tool ensures continued alignment with district core values and goals. A new plan accounts for shifts in expected educational programs, student body demographics, and financial circumstances. The planning process cannot be rushed without the risk of having a plan that has missing elements, errors, or a lack of community ownership.
Your plan need not be complex. A successful plan is focused, thorough, and collaborative. It highlights your districts facility strengths and identifies solutions to any gaps. As many of our educational facilities throughout the State have begun to show their age, now is the time to take action and create a Master Plan. The result is a possible and actionable plan with the necessary support to see it through.
Several of our associates are experts in creating a Master Plan for your school or district. Call our offices at 760.602.9352 or email me at email@example.com and we will work quickly to expedite your plan for facility success.