DOWNEY - The Downey Unified School District has commissioned Irvine-based LPA, Inc. to prepare a Facilities Master Plan for the district. The firm, which also has offices in Roseville and San Diego, was founded in 1965 and is credited with doing similar work on over forty facilities in over 10 years in several places, including Beverly Hills USD, Fremont USD, Lake Tahoe USD, Oxnard USD, Norwalk-La Mirada USD, and Ocean View SD.The master plan, according to LPA, will look at every pertinent scrap of information-past, present, and projected-about the district with the end in view of formulating a plan that will serve as a guide to facility usage/construction, school site planning, technology build-up, and, most important, student enrollment projections, for the next ten years. Almost implicit in its statement of scope is the need for demographic information, especially as it relates to future enrollment estimates. The demographic analysis will be prepared by Jack Schreder & Associates, said to have been preparing such demographic studies in connection with facility master plans for 20 years, 25 of them for districts of all sizes in the past five years alone. The two agreements were approved by the board at its August 21st meeting. "It's been eleven years since the state of the district's facilities has been looked at, relative to their utilization by our students," said Dr. Nancy Nien, asst. superintendent for business services. "It's time to assess our entire infrastructure, to update our data. We have to make sure everything is in order." Just how extensive a study of this nature is can be gleaned from this statement by LPA in its proposal: "LPA will gather and review existing district data, including past planning documents, deferred maintenance plans, board polices and resolutions, existing reenrollment information, individual school site plans, along with district mission statement, strategic plan, program course offerings and technology plan documents." It goes on: "This task involves LPA reviewing the enrollment projections for the Downey Unified School District as prepared by the Demographics consultant. We will be looking at geographic areas of growth and projected decline to better understand the future facilities needs of the district. This review will also include analyzing the school attendance boundaries of the school district and offering recommendations of future boundary changes to accommodate shifts in enrollment over the next years, including changes to boundaries to accommodate the construction of new facilities if needed...Based on review of the projections and boundaries, along with the development of existing school site capacity analyses, LPA shall also assist the district in making recommendations on the expansion and/or contraction of existing facilities. LPA says the plan, which will incorporate input from every conceivable helpful source, starting with important ideas from a "proactive" board to contributions from stakeholders, will be "visionary, realistic, and implementable." With September penciled in as the launch month for the plan, LPA said it expects to have the Facilities Master Plan meeting the approval of the board by May 2014 and in conformance with the district's potential November 2014 local bond election date goal. The cost of the plan, not to exceed $195,000 (and not counting reimbursable expenses incurred by LPA-this amount, again, not to exceed $9,750) will come out of developer fees, it was learned; hence, the district's General Funds will be untouched. DUSD superintendent Dr. John Garcia emphasized that the key figure-the critical element-in all the welter of statistics that will comprise the demographic portion of the plan will be future enrollment projections, as this will be the basis for the state and district budgets. "It's nice to know that our forward-looking board of trustees also wants to provide the best facilities for our students," he said. "They hit the nail on the head on this. The basic goal really is to provide the safest and best instructional facility for our kids now and in the future."
********** Published: Sept. 5, 2013 - Volume 12 - Issue 21