Long-Range Facility Planning
With over 22 years of experience working with school districts on the preparation of long range facility master plans and

capital improvement programs, Visions In Planning will make the process smoother and more efficient. Our Team will

also ensure that a realistic funding strategy is an essential component of each plan and capital outlay program. A

long-range facility master plan will set strategic objectives and individual projects will be thoroughly documented to

confirm rationale, scope, feasibility, costs and risks. Alternatives for each capital project will be explored and

evaluated, and a business case presented for recommended options.

Enrollment Projections, Utilization and School Capacities
In order plan for future space needs, or how to address excess capacity, based on current enrollment data,

population forecasts, community development and housing trends, and student yield rates from residential dwelling types are analyzed to determine what the specific impacts to the district are. Based on historic enrollment data, area birthrates, and other demographics, we will develop district-wide and school-specific enrollment projections in order to ensure that each school is within industry standard capacity and utilization range. If it is determined that some schools are over or under-utilized, our Educational Facility Planning Team can assist the district in modifying school attendance zones utilizing GIS if needed.

Local Area Demographics
Visions In Planning has the expertise to provide our clients with a solid foundation of information for planning, including regional economic and population growth trends, housing and population characteristics, a thorough inventory of active, planned and proposed residential developments, and historic enrollment and student information. Housing and population characteristics include baseline data from the Census and the American Community Survey, supplemented with data from local government entities and institutions. Development data includes an inventory of all currently active residential projects as well as vacant land parcels that appear to have near-term market potential. In this case data is collected to identifying future residential development potential, characteristics and timing. Information from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is used to identify recent trends in housing occupancy and affordability.

Developing, Reviewing and Updating Educational Specifications
Creating or renewal of a district’s facility specifications can be a valuable activity in the capital planning process. This is especially relevant if a district’s educational specifications do not exist or reflect such current issues as educational programmatic changes, sustainability, indoor environmental quality, increasing community use of facilities, and ever more multi-ethnic and multi-generational learners. Educational Specifications are typically required to be developed for major renovation projects or for new schools.

Evaluating and documenting existing building conditions - Facility Evaluations
Visions In Planning will conduct a physical assessment of each facility and collect data in regards to its overall physical condition. This data will then be compared with district maintenance records/plans, life, health and safety standards, compliance with the American with Disabilities Act, and State standards.  Each assessment will identify critical deficiencies and form the basis for establishing priorities and benchmarks for modernization, renovation, replacement or closure. 

Functional  Assessment Services (Educational Adequacy)
The overall ability of the school to fulfill its key functions can be accurately assessed and quantified with a proven methodology developed by Visions In Planning.  Results can then be analyzed, and cost-effective solutions proposed to address functional deficiencies and improve the performance of your facilities.  A functional assessment report supplements building condition information. It documents performance indicators for such aspects as:

  • Building layout, circulation, location of spaces and adjacencies
  • Classroom size, configuration, flexibility, technology, fixtures and fittings
  • Parking, playgrounds, user access and pedestrian safety, path of travel
  • Meeting space, storage, office space

This information is critical to capital planning decision-makers, now more than ever before. School systems are facing the worst financial circumstances in many decades and are expected to provide high-quality education with fewer resources. It is therefore essential that facilities managers and planners have a full and accurate picture of the buildings in their inventory. This means not only the condition of building components, systems, and equipment, but also how a school is performing functionally and is utilized.  Without such information, functional deficiencies will be overlooked and remain uncorrected, even as other capital projects are undertaken at the school. Not only is this a missed opportunity to optimize scarce capital dollars, but it leaves a physically improved building with the functional obsolescence that it started with.

Facilitating Community Involvement
Schools are important public assets in their neighborhoods and increasingly provide space for functions such as before/ after school care, community recreation, and adult education. Integrating community use in the District-wide Facility Master Plan will ensure schools continue to play a vital role in their community. Visions In Planning can help you to identify opportunities for partnerships and more extensive and innovative community use of public schools.

School Reorganization/ Consolidation
Experts and district administrators agree: Hire outside specialists, who are typically perceived as fair and disinterested, to help guide the process. The benefits of bringing in an outside party include expertise, a sense of objectivity, and the capacity to conduct analysis and outreach.
We will work closely with our clients and assist them to:

  • Convey the message that there is a problem, that solving it could produce educational benefits, and that the district needs the publics collaboration to move forward.
  • Establish clear, quantifiable criteria for deciding which schools to close.
  • Create the decision-making framework for identifying the schools to be closed. This includes a comprehensive communication protocol, time-lines, and the community engagement process.
  • Determine the right size for a district and how many empty seats it should maintain for future use.
  • Establish an appropriate time-line—from the initial announcement that some buildings will close, until displaced students enter their new schools.