1) Create a bigger purpose. The goal of the 10 year plan should not be to build and renovate school buildings. Our goal must be to educate and enable our students and our communities to build, enrich and empower each other. Our students and our communities need to be fully involved in the learning, decisions and building of these schools so these buildings become not BCPS schools, but their schools that they helped design, build and support.
2) Create great learning. Integrate the 10 year plan and the Jacobs report into STEM, environmental literacy and project based learning at our schools. By studying this intersection between learning, environment, architecture, design and economics we are creating rich and relevant learning for the students. Imagine the power and learning if we involving students, faculty and community members in visioning and design decisions for their schools. Can students find ways to orient or design the new additions to lower energy costs and improve their learning environment? Invite local architects and designers to be part of this learning process.
3) Build effective and efficient learning environments.
Studies show that good indoor air quality, proper lighting, acoustics and temperature help create effective learning environments for students. These factors should be the benchmarks for school design and operations contracts.
4) Build for the future.
Deciding that our schools will be built to last 150 years will create sustainable economic decisions that favor better technologies and materials that have slightly higher short term costs but far greater long term savings.
5) Train for the future.
Create after school and Saturday training programs to enable some high
school students to become certified to work on school construction projects after they graduate. Find ways to promote the training and hiring of local workers on construction crews.
6) Save for the future.
Many of our schools have potential energy saving renovation projects which are scheduled for renovations under the 10 year plan. The district should actively search out and undertake energy saving renovations that would create significant savings.
7) Create new funding streams.
If the district agrees to rebate 85% of energy savings back to schools which produce the savings through their own renovations or improved operations, some schools could self-finance these renovations outside of the CIP funding stream. The schools would be able to create these renovations before their scheduled renovations and the district would not have to dip into CIP funds to pay for them.
8) Create better schools now.
Many of the complaints about City Schools are about cleaning, health and operations issues which are relatively inexpensive to solve. Focusing attention on reducing asthma triggers, cleaning bathrooms and reducing harmful chemicals in the schools can create healthier and better environments for our children. These are issues that City Schools should tackle now.
9) Create cost savings with standardized and bulk purchasing of materials.
10) Create open and transparent decision making with professional oversight and collaboration.
Open all meetings to the public and post all contracts online for public viewing. Involve management from other districts and outside architecture and engineering firms in overseeing the 10 year plan.