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Developing a Long-Term Facilities Action Plan

By the end of 2023, we’ll develop a long-term plan to guide our capital investments in schools that includes a clear timeline and sequence of projects, an estimated budget, and a racial equity analysis.

We need your help to elevate the shared vision and expertise of students, families, educators, and community partners and develop the long-term facilities action plan. Please see below for more resources.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

FAQ

How is the Racial Equity Planning Tool (REPT) being used in this process?

The Racial Equity Planning tool is a six-step process, meant to operationalize BPS’ commitment to ensure each decision is aimed at closing opportunity gaps and advancing racial equity. It involves: considering desired results and outcomes, analysis of data, stakeholder engagement, strategies for racial equity, implementation planning, accountability, and communications. It is not a checklist, but rather an ongoing process that guides every step of this project. 

The development of the tool is grounded in the Racial Equity Planning Tool, which requires us to carefully consider our desired outcome, analyze data that is disaggregated by race, ethnicity, language and disability, and work closely with stakeholders to develop strategies for racial equity and maintain an open line of communication for continued accountability.

 

Are current projects part of this tool?

The initial set of 15 Green New Deal for BPS projects are moving forward now, independently of this planning tool. Given the urgency of this work, we did not want to delay important construction, renovation, and reconfiguration projects until this planning work was complete. 

We want to emphasize that the planning tool will not provide an “answer” or a single solution. Rather, it will allow us to transparently test scenarios, understand their impacts, and make collaborative decisions about facilities investments. By developing this new planning tool, we hope to create transparency around the reasons for proposed investments, ensuring an open line of communication and ongoing accountability with the BPS community. While current projects continue to move forward, this planning tool will shape new proposals beginning in 2024.

Key Tools

We’re investing in key foundational tools – a Facilities Conditions Assessment (FCA) and a PreK-6 & 7-12 School Design Study – to develop a long-term facilities action plan by the end of 2023. Throughout this process, we’re continuing to use the Racial Equity Planning Tool to analyze how facilities proposals impact students and communities with the greatest needs.

Racial Equity Planning Tool (REPT): The development of a long-term facilities action plan for the District will be grounded in the district’s commitment to closing the Opportunity  Gap. Leveraging the Racial Equity Planning Tool ensures that communities are authentically invited to influence the thinking around programming and facilities planning and help create the school communities that families will continue to choose.

Facilities Conditions Assessment (FCA): In April 2022, we began working with Bureau Veritas Technical Assessments to complete a Facilities Condition Assessment (FCA), a detailed analysis that produces a large, in-depth dataset of building conditions and makes recommendations for repair, replacement, and renovation. The FCA will offer an independent, objective analysis of BPS facilities, offering more transparency for community members and informing future decisions around capital investment priorities. Unlike previous assessments, the FCA is designed to be dynamic, so it can change to reflect changing building conditions. Once it’s complete, the FCA will be integrated into BPS’ Asset Essentials management system, which tracks all work orders and capital projects, to maintain real-time data on the state of our buildings. The FCA will be complete by the summer of 2023.

PreK-6 & 7-12 School Design Study: In the fall of 2022, we began working with a consultant team – DLR Group, Jonathan Levi Architects, and St. Fleur Communications – to complete a PreK-6 & 7-12 School Design Study. This study will develop a set of programming and design recommendations to guide and accelerate future renovations and construction, informed by authentic engagement with Boston community members over the next year. The programming recommendations will be based on BPS’ educational vision – developed through authentic community and educator engagement, and grounded in a strategic vision for the District:

  • We’ll design buildings based on PreK-6 (or PreK-8) and 7-12 (or 9-12) grade configurations to create predictable pathways and one-time transitions for students.
  • We’ll design buildings equipped to offer a variety of academic and enrichment opportunities, including science labs, performing arts and rehearsal spaces, athletic facilities, outdoor learning spaces and school gardens, as well as support services, like school psychologists and social workers. 
  • We’ll design buildings that support BPS’ transition toward inclusion, with learning spaces that allow all students to learn in the least restrictive environment.
  • We’ll design buildings that are equipped as full-service community hubs, with programming and services that address the whole child, rooted in families and communities.
  • We’ll design buildings that are environmentally just, with comprehensive HVAC systems to ensure clean air and comfortable temperatures; high energy use performance that meets or exceeds all zoning and building codes; no fossil fuel use for HVAC, cooking, or domestic hot water; and on-site stormwater management to build resilience to flooding and sea level rise.

The team will also support the development of a project prioritization rubric, a methodology for prioritizing new capital projects based on student needs, racial equity, and facilities conditions. This prioritization rubric will offer clear guidance for how to sequence new construction and renovation projects in the long-term plan for capital investment.

Project Details and Timeline

Project timeline for GND for BPS.

BPS facilities require significant investment, and to deliver on a quality guarantee, we need to step up the pace of school renovation and new construction projects. New facilities projects typically follow a general schedule:

  • Programming – At least 1 year for the school community to decide what academic, enrichment, and supportive programming should be housed within a new building;
  • Design – At least 1 year for a team of architects and engineers to complete design and construction documents for a facility that will support that programming vision; 
  • Construction – At least 2 years from groundbreaking to the opening of a new school.

By spending time now on the FCA and the School Design Study, we can shorten that timeline by moving new projects into the construction phase much more quickly.

 

These design choices are grounded in our Guiding Values. First, leading with equity, demonstrated in the foundational use of the REPT throughout the design process to analyze how BPS facilities proposals will impact students and communities with the greatest needs, particularly Black, Latinx, or Afro-Latinx students; multilingual learners; students with disabilities; and low-income, unhoused, or other traditionally marginalized students. Second, designing for inclusion. Inclusion is not a place or a program – it is an approach that ensures all students are educated in the least restrictive environment and provided access to a full continuum of services that meet their individual needs. We will prioritize facilities projects that enhance equity and inclusion for Boston youth. Third, being honest about hard choices. Many of our students are learning in buildings ill-equipped to support the academic vision we are moving towards. As we renovate existing buildings and build new facilities, we will have opportunities to bring school communities together. The process of joining school communities can be challenging, but we commit to being transparent in our decision-making and working in partnership with school communities to support successful transitions to allow students, families, and schools to thrive.

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