Transparency, equity and collaboration are three words Construction Services executives are using to describe their approach to the rollout of bond 2020 renovations and construction projects. In their first public report to trustees on Feb. 11, the leadership team shared the philosophy they said will guide the construction plan and shared a list of 29 construction projects underway, 21 set to begin and 13 schools assigned for replacement. Also announced was news that the 2020 bond program will fund new furniture for all district schools and that middle and high schools will all receive wrought iron fencing and all high schools will receive turf on football fields.
Projecting that the actual rollout of bond 2020 construction is months away, given the need for approvals, sale of bonds, assignment of contractors and other steps, the team also shared a list of “can’t wait” schools that need immediate repair or replacement of roofs, HVAC and plumbing. This is work that will be scheduled right away at 42 campuses.
As part of an overview of the $3.5B construction plan, Assistant Superintendent of Maintenance and Facility Services David Bates introduced a timing rubric and cash flow organizer, an element he said will bring transparency to projects in terms of timing and expenditures. The tool is a tracker of sorts that will list all active projects, their scope of work, budgets, expenditures and progress by month.
Calling the tracker a game changer that will create transparency, Bates said the document will follow each project by month, indicating the trustee district, scope of work, the date of assignment to a project management firm and architect, the launch date, the expected completion date and monthly expenditures. The idea is for trustees to be able to follow the construction projects in their districts and to pull information to keep constituents informed and engaged. Bates said his team is also working to create the tracker and a public-facing dashboard with similar information for the public in the short term.
Deputy Chief of Construction Services Brent Alfred explained two factors the team will use to ensure equity in prioritizing school improvements. A decision matrix will rate each campus based on its Facility Condition Index or FCI. The FCI rates buildings based on their condition, life cycle and overall value. The matrix also applies each school’s Community Resource Index, or CRI. Developed by the nonprofit organization Child Poverty Action Lab, the CRI is a means of measuring a neighborhood’s access to healthcare, nutrition, transportation and recreation. The combined ratings—a low CRI and a high FCI will indicate the schools most in need of renovations or replacement.
To guarantee more community involvement and collaboration, the team also committed to expand its use of charettes. The public meetings allow parents, students and other stakeholders to suggest the spaces they most want to see in their schools and preferred design elements. Alfred said the charettes held in connection with 2015 bond projects were well received and will become a common element of bond 2020 projects.
In place of the phased rollout of construction that was used in previous bond programs, Bates said the bond 2020 construction would occur in a continuous phase with the goal of timely completion of renovation and construction projects.
The construction team will begin recommending project management firms for board approval in February, followed by architects in April with the expectation of assigning architects and project managers in April and May, which will mark the beginning of developing project work scopes.