PGCPS out­lines FY 2017 Ed­u­ca­tional Fa­cil­i­ties Master Plan

De­part­ment of Cap­i­tal Pro­grams of­fi­cials out­line 20-year plan for mod­ern­iza­tions, ren­o­va­tions/ad­di­tions and new con­struc­tion of dis­trict schools

The Enquire-Gazette - - Front Page - By JOHNATHON CLINKSCALES jclinkscales@somd­news.com

The Ed­u­ca­tional Fa­cil­i­ties Master Plan (EFMP) for fis­cal year 2017 marks the be­gin­ning of a ma­jor change in the way Prince Ge­orge’s County Pub­lic Schools is plan­ning for the fu­ture. It pro­poses a proac­tive and com­pre­hen­sive strat­egy to ad­dress the cur­rent and fu­ture fa­cil­i­ties needs of ag­ing in­ven­tory and grow­ing com­mu­ni­ties. Rather than long lists of sys­temic re­place­ment projects that just brush the sur­face of schools’ needs, the 20-year plan pro­poses a ren­o­va­tion pro­gram to upgrade both the phys­i­cal and ed­u­ca­tional de­fi­cien­cies of ev­ery school built be­fore 1999, ac­cord­ing to the PGCPS De­part­ment of Cap­i­tal Pro­grams web­site.

Firmly aligned with the PGCPS Strate­gic Plan, the 2015 Com­pre­hen­sive 5-Year Bridge to Ex­cel­lence Master Plan and the Com­pre­hen­sive Main­te­nance Plan, the EFMP will be used as the ba­sis for pri­or­i­tiz­ing projects in de­vel­op­ing the an­nual six-year Cap­i­tal Im­prove­ment Plan (CIP).

The cost for this holis­tic ap­proach is sig­nif­i­cant – more than $8 bil­lion will be needed over 20 years for mod­ern­iz­ing more than 133 schools, con­struct­ing new schools, re­or­ga­niz­ing sixth grade to mid­dle schools and con­duct­ing plan­ning stud­ies to con­sider bound­ary changes and con­sol­i­da­tions, ac­cord­ing to an ex­ec­u­tive sum­mary in the PGCPS FY 2017 Pre­lim­i­nary EFMP re­port.

“This year’s master plan is com­pre­hen­sive in the sense that it’s a re­sult of our cur­rent Master Plan Sup­port Project [MPSP] study that was done last year,” Ru­pert McCave, a CIP of­fi­cer for PGCPS, said in a phone in­ter­view. “In the MPSP, we have three dif­fer­ent cy­cles that we are look­ing at right now for cap­i­tal in­vest­ments and to meet all the pro­grams that we have.”

The cap­i­tal pro­gram rec­om­men­da­tions are bro­ken down into cy­cles 1, 2, 3 and 4 with im­prove­ment projects tak­ing place in FY 2017-2022, FY 2023-2028, FY 2029-2034 and FY 2035 and be­yond, re­spec­tively. MPSP was started by the school sys­tem in 2014 to de­velop a process for pri­or­i­tiz­ing school con­struc­tion and ren­o­va­tion projects. Project pri­or­i­ties are based on three things which in­cludes mis­sion, con­di­tion and func­tion.

First, the sup­port project

eval­u­ates school build­ings based on their abil­ity to sup­port PGCPS ini­tia­tives listed in the master plan such as ex­pand­ing lan­guage im­mer­sion pro­grams and pre-kin­der­garten, im­ple­ment­ing ca­reer acad­e­mies in high schools and in­te­grat­ing spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams. Se­condly, it up­dates the 2012 fa­cil­ity con­di­tion in­dex to re­flect projects that will be com­pleted in 2015.

Thirdly, the MPSP eval­u­ates all school build­ings built be­fore 1999 based on their abil­ity to meet lo­cal, state and na­tional ed­u­ca­tional stan­dards, ac­cord­ing to the school sys­tem’s web­site.

PGCPS not only uses the sup­port project to help de­ter­mine what projects are needed and when they should be done, but also as a re­source to in­form de­ci­sions on school clo­sures, bound­ary changes and other plan­ning rec­om­men­da­tions, McCave noted.

“In the cur­rent [FY 2017] CIP that you have seen and [is pend­ing ap­proval by the county’s Board of Ed­u­ca­tion], it in­cludes cy­cle one projects that we have been telling all stake­hold­ers the re­sults from the MPSP analysis,” McCave said. “In that plan, we have high schools, el­e­men­tary schools and mid­dle schools [that need to be mod­ern­ized, ren­o­vated, re­quire ad­di­tions or re­plac­ing]. It’s not just set in one area and it’s not cen­tral or south; it’s com­pre­hen­sive. … It’s a mixed bag of projects sort of speak.”

The MPSP in­cludes four dif­fer­ent types of mod­ern­iza­tion projects. A full ren­o­va­tion/ re­place­ment in­di­cates the need for com­pre­hen­sive ren­o­va­tions and re­con­fig­u­ra­tions or a com­plete re­place­ment. A lim­ited ren­o­va­tion in­di­cates a need to re­place more than five ma­jor sys­tems and for mi­nor re­con­fig­u­ra­tions to ac­com­mo­date mod­ern build­ing stan­dards. A sys­tems re­place­ment in­di­cates a need to re­place fewer than five ma­jor sys­tems and for mi­nor re­con­fig­u­ra­tions. Other project types may in­clude small rec­om­men­da­tions that are needed to en­sure school build­ings meet fu­ture needs. If any school needs an ex­pan­sion, an ad­di­tion is rec­om­mended, ac­cord­ing to a pro­gram sup­port fact sheet.

Rec­om­men­da­tions in the sup­port project in­clude build­ing one new el­e­men­tary school in the cen­tral re­gion, as well as two new el­e­men­tary schools, three new mid­dle schools and two new high schools in the north­ern re­gion. Con­sul­tants also rec­om­mended 29 school con­sol­i­da­tions to oc­cur over the next 18 years. Those con­sol­i­da­tions in­clude 26 el­e­men­tary schools – two in north­ern, 13 in cen­tral and 11 in south­ern re­gions – and three high schools, one in cen­tral re­gion and two in south­ern re­gion. Al­though the school dis­trict does not con­cur with all of the con­sul­tants’ rec­om­men­da­tions, it does agree that, where fea­si­ble, it must take ac­tion to ad­dress ex­cess ca­pac­ity. Clos­ing those schools will save over $600 mil­lion in cap­i­tal costs, ac­cord­ing to the 2015 MPSP fi­nal re­port.

To en­sure in­di­vid­ual cap­i­tal projects and re­lated master plan­ning ac­tiv­i­ties are im­ple­mented in co­or­di­na­tion as well as to make cer­tain that the mis­sion-based prin­ci­ples are ap­plied eq­ui­tably across the dis­trict, in­di­vid­ual schools in the FY 2017 EFMP are or­ga­nized ge­o­graph­i­cally by 40 Plan­ning Ar­eas, or PAs, with their cor­re­spond­ing re­gion and bound­ary code. There are three high school PAs, four mid­dle school PAs and 33 PAs for el­e­men­tary and other school types in­clud­ing acad­e­mies. PAs are gen­er­ally grouped into three ma­jor re­gions of the county—north­ern re­gion which in­cludes PAs 1-14, 34 and 38; cen­tral re­gion which in­cludes PAs 15-23, 35-36 and 39; and south­ern re­gion which in­cludes PAs 24-33, 37 and 40.

For FY 2017-2022, south­ern re­gion schools listed in cy­cle 1 of the im­prove­ment plan – which need ei­ther a full ren­o­va­tion or re­place­ment – in­clude Ben­jamin Stod­dert Mid­dle, Suit­land High, Drew-Free­man Mid­dle, Gwynn Park High, Rose Val­ley El­e­men­tary, Gwynn Park Mid­dle and Po­tomac Land­ing El­e­men­tary schools.

“We’re try­ing to break them out so that peo­ple see that there’s a cer­tain fair­ness and trans­parency to where the projects are lo­cated in the county,” said PGCPS Plan­ner II El­iz­a­beth Chais­son. “We’ve been build­ing new schools. Most of th­ese mod­ern­iza­tions have to have fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies done. So they may or may not, de­pend­ing on the out­come of the fea­si­bil­ity study, be re­placed with a brand new school. We’re ei­ther go­ing to gut the school and do ma­jor ren­o­va­tions or we might have to tear down and start over.”

When it comes to the FY 2017-2022 im­prove­ment plan, McCave said there are 33 mod­ern­iza­tion/re­place­ment projects wait­ing to be funded. Among the schools sched­uled for ser­vice in­clude Ber­wyn Heights, Calver­ton, Chero­kee Lane, James Duck­worth, Hy­attsville, Long­fields, Mar­garet Brent, Po­tomac Land­ing, Riverdale, Rogers Heights, Rose Val­ley, Springhill Lake and Tem­ple­ton El­e­men­tary schools; Ben­jamin Stod­dert, Ben­jamin Tasker, Charles Car­roll, Drew Free­man, Gwynn Park, Hy­attsville, Ken­moor, Thomas John­son, Walker Mill and Wil­liam Wirt Mid­dle schools; Gwynn Park, High Point and Suit­land High schools; the Frances Fuchs Early Child­hood Cen­ter; the Wil­liam Sch­midt Out­door Ed­u­ca­tional Cen­ter; plus the con­struc­tion of one new el­e­men­tary school, two new mid­dle schools, one new high school and the In­ter­na­tional High School at Lan­g­ley Park, ac­cord­ing to a master plan pow­er­point pre­sen­ta­tion.

Over the next six years, PGCPS will sched­ule a min­i­mum of 10 more plan­ning area stud­ies. Other ac­tions in­clude bound­ary or pro­gram changes, grade re­or­ga­ni­za­tions, co-lo­ca­tions and ca­pac­ity re­duc­tions dur­ing ren­o­va­tion to ‘right size’ for the en­roll­ment. Plan­ning stud­ies will look at a va­ri­ety of fac­tors such as stu­dent en­roll­ment trends, school build­ing ca­pac­i­ties, ca­pac­ity uti­liza­tion rates, trans­porta­tion, ed­u­ca­tional pro­gram­ming and aca­demic per­for­mance, de­mo­graphic com­po­si­tion of the stu­dent body, fi­nan­cial con­sid­er­a­tions and com­mu­nity in­put.

As the school sys­tem moves for­ward in re­sourc­ing and im­ple­ment­ing its strate­gic pri­or­i­ties, McCave said it is clear that the dis­trict is com­mit­ted to be­ing ‘great by choice’ and will turn chal­lenges into op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Through its strate­gic fo­cus on or­ga­ni­za­tional ef­fec­tive­ness, the master plan will ac­cel­er­ate the num­ber of safe and sup­port­ive en­vi­ron­ments con­ducive to aca­demic ex­cel­lence, he said.

“I think it meets the prom­ise,” said McCave. “Peo­ple re­ally un­der­stand that to make this thing work, we need a whole lot more money. I think that’s very sig­nif­i­cant and is clearly set up and un­der­stood by all.”

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