Master Facilities Planning: Data Sharing Meeting

Lakota's Master Facilities Planning Process Loops in Community
Posted on 01/29/2020
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On Tuesday night, the community had its first opportunity to hear the results of an intensive review of Lakota’s school buildings presented alongside the district’s student enrollment projections. The analysis lays the groundwork for a multi-year Master Facilities Plan (MFP) that hasn’t been updated since the early 2000s. 

“When we created our new strategic plan last year, it was written with the intent to be a living document - one that we use every day to guide the decisions of not only district administrators, but everyone at Lakota,” said Lakota Superintendent Matthew Miller. “Part of that strategic plan requires that we develop a Master Facilities Plan for the district.” 

With 25 buildings valued at more than $400 million, the planning process is designed to protect some of the community’s most valuable physical assets. The MFP looks at enrollment projections and the age and condition of our facilities, as well as how well our spaces align with our vision for future learning at Lakota. Among the data shared: 

  • Lakota has seen an increase of more than 600 students since 2018, with most of it occurring in Liberty Township. That overall growth trend is expected to continue in the district’s already overcrowded northern schools.

  • The average age of Lakota’s schools is 32 years, with four of those buildings currently over 50 years old. By 2045, all 23 schools will be at least 30 years old, 13 of which will be over 50.

  • As assessed by the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC), 11 schools are considered to be “deficient” or “borderline.” This reflects an assessment of the entire facilities that includes overall structure, systems, technology and other metrics. This data is a snapshot in time and the OFCC will continue to modify each school’s rating throughout the MFP process.

“Think of your own home and the routine maintenance and repair that it requires as it ages - some minor and some major, and then multiply that by 25 large buildings,” reminded Lakota’s Chief Operating Officer Chris Passarge. “It’s imperative that we have a firm grasp on what is required in upcoming years to keep our buildings in working order and in a manner that is both efficient and fiscally responsible.” 

Miller reminded the community members present Tuesday night of the new programs that have been introduced over the last two-and-a-half years to advance the Lakota student experience. Programs like all-day kindergarten without a lottery, six daily specials, reimagined media centers now called innovation hubs and a one-to-one technology program in grades 6-12 are just the start of Lakota’s continued progress toward achieving its mission to “provide a future-ready, student-centered learning experience for every single child.”

“This facilities plan is as much about maximizing the lifespans of our buildings as it is about making sure our educational spaces align with our vision for teaching and learning - both now and into the foreseeable future,” Miller said. 

The committee leading this work is made up of the OFCC, VSWC Architects, an educational visioning expert and district leaders. But Tuesday’s meeting introduced the larger community into the mix, marking the first of many opportunities for parents, students, staff and residents to infuse their feedback into the process.

“We want all of our community to be a part of the planning process,” Miller said. “Over the next few months, we will have multiple opportunities for community engagement, including both meetings and online feedback.”

ThoughtExchange, for example, is a new online engagement tool that Lakota is using to regularly gather input on specific topics. Participants are asked to respond to an open-ended question before rating the thoughts of others. The community is invited to participate in the first ThoughtExchange about Lakota’s MFP (or bit.ly/LakotaMFP1). The exchange will remain open until Feb. 11. 

The next community meeting will focus on visioning and is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 6 p.m. at Lakota West Freshman School. 

A video recording of the meeting is available on the district's YouTube channel.  More information, including data sources and a complete FAQ, is available on Lakota’s “WE are Building Our Future” MFP website (or lakotaonline.com/BuildingOurFuture).