This coming school year in District 95 may be marked by the creation of master plan, a process which will set the goals and vision of the district for years to come.
At their meeting Aug. 11, the school board heard a proposal from the newly hired district architect, FGM Architects Engineers, Inc., about how such a plan could be created. The board has not officially hired FGM to assist them with the master plan yet, but Superintendent Dr. Douglas Rudig said he was “90 percent sure” that would happen at the board’s next meeting.
Rudig explained the need for a master plan stemmed from a wide-ranging facility study the district did for its schools during 2003-04. He said the board realized a significant amount of work was needed in both schools to make them state-of-the-art facilities, and wanted to find out what they had to do to get them to that level.
“We discovered there really is a high-level project needed in both buildings to create a learning center for students,” Rudig said. “We thought it was prudent to do a state-of-the-art facility study.”
At the meeting, the team of FGM consultants, consisting of Vice President Alan Armbrust and Executive Vice Presidents August Battaglia and Jim Woods, mapped out a four-month long process to compile information on every aspect of the district. In the end, Armbrust said, the final plan would provide the district with a roadmap on how it can evolve in the coming years.
“This is a way to decide where you are, where you want to go, and how close you can get to that, keeping in mind your resources,” he said.
To get to that point, the consultants proposed creating committees at every level to assess various facets of the district. According to the proposal, there will be a site committee at each school to focus specifically on its needs, as well as a District Task Force to consider common issues facing both Brook Park School and S.E. Gross Middle School. All of the committees would be comprised of administrators, teachers and residents, and all would serve as advisers to the school board.
Another key element of the process will be getting community feedback about the district. To that end, the consultants proposed holding three community workshops, where residents will be able to tell the consultants and the school board exactly what they want to see in the district. These meetings would be progressive, building upon each other to create a vision for the district and then brainstorm ways to make it a reality.
“The idea of the meeting is to provide the community with more information on the state of the buildings, how new facilities can affect education, and to provide an interactive dialogue between the community and FGM and the board,” Rudig said.
These workshops were tentatively scheduled by FGM for Sept. 19, Oct. 20 and Dec. 1, with an overall goal of bringing three different scenarios for the master plan to the school board by mid-December.
At this point, the consultants said, there is no real way of knowing exactly what the plan will include, or what costs it will entail.
“This will tell us what you would have in an ideal classroom, and then we’ll use that as a model and see how we can apply that to your situation,” Woods said.