Why District 303 might complete a facility master plan
A thorough analysis of St. Charles Unit District 303 facilities could help the district better align building use with student need, school officials said.
School board members on Monday supported taking the first steps toward completing a long-range educational facility master plan. The goal is to map out the district's properties and programs to ensure they support "the strategic direction of the district," said Seth Chapman, assistant superintendent for business services.
The district's building use, population and educational environment have changed significantly since 2008, when the last facility master plan was completed, Chapman said. Enrollment has declined, schools have closed, boundaries have been altered.
Most recently, District 303 has been in the midst of a nearly $50 million plan to consolidate and update its middle school facilities. Improvements were made to Wredling, Haines was shuttered at the end of last academic year, and a major expansion and renovation project is nearing completion at Thompson.
"As we wrap up middle school construction, we kind of need to take a look at what's next," Chapman said. "This (master plan) will help us be prepared for whatever happens in the future."
To kick-start the process, board members directed staff to develop a request for quotes, which is expected to be brought back to the business services committee in September. The master plan could take 15 to 18 months to complete once a contractor is selected, Chapman said.
In addition to a "comprehensive assessment" of district-owned buildings and sites, he said, the process would entail a by-school educational adequacy analysis, as well as an audit of various programming, including college and career, early childhood, vocational and extracurricular.
It also would incorporate existing information gathered by the district, such as roof and mechanical studies and a 10-year Health/Life Safety study -- mandated by the Illinois State Board of Education -- that will be wrapped up in December, Chapman said.
Some school board members have been pushing for a thorough review of district facilities and programs for months amid discussions of the fate of the now-vacant Haines site. A master plan, likely to cost upward of $100,000, will allow them to make more informed decisions on all future building use, they've said.
"I think they all agree we need to do it," Chapman said. "It's just a matter of how and when."
A request for quotes is expected to be issued this fall, and a contractor could be chosen by the end of the year, pending school board consideration, he said. Work on the master plan could begin as early as January.