Trustees approve process to update Facilities Master Plan

Photo by Crystal Apilado/Winters Express

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Van Pelt Construction Services presented the Winters Joint Unified School District Board of Trustees with a proposal to provide a process to update and implement the school district’s Facilities Master Plan at the Feb. 16 meeting.

Van Pelt will work with the school district to identify additional state funding sources to add to local facilities funds and execute a current demographic study. Together they will prioritize facility projects to address community growth, the reconstruction of existing facilities and address short and long-term facility needs for Winters students.

Van Pelt representative Jennifer Gibb summarized for Trustees the process of updating and implementing the Facilities Master Plan, which Gibb described as “inquiry and data-driven” with the goal of “producing high-quality facilities for high-quality education.”

Gibb noted a few of the data inputs that Van Pelt would determine in their planning process, which include demographics, sources of local, state, and federal funding, assessments of current facility conditions, and the development of cost estimates and project budgets for facility changes. 

A key feature of this process will be the oversight and input of a Superintendent’s committee, with Gibb laying out some of the partners and stakeholders who will participate including students, classified and certificated staff, parent-teacher organizations and a number of other stakeholders. 

In addition, Gibb said Van Pelt would hold a number of community input sessions to allow members of the Winters JUSD community to discuss areas of focus, and timelines for projects, as well as provide transparent education on funding availability.

Gibb laid out a proposed timeline, pending board approval, of a Facilities Master Plan slated to begin in March with site assessments and demographic data gathering. In mid-April, they would make time for community input meetings and by late April determine funding sources for projects. In May, the Superintendent’s committee would review Van Pelt’s plan and a draft review would be provided to the board, before being improved and eventually adopted by Trustees in June.

Following her presentation, Gibb invited board members to ask any questions. 

Board Clerk Joedy Michael asked Gibb logistical questions regarding the plan, including whether Van Pelt’s assessments will include all land assets, not just the facilities themselves, and inquired as to who would be the demographer. Gibb answered that yes, the assessment would include all of the school district’s assets and that Van Pelt’s demographer is King Consulting, with whom Van Pelt has worked in the past and whom Gibb described as, “very true to their projections.” 

Trustee Everardo Zaragoza sought clarification on the cost estimates Van Pelt will provide, asking if each recommendation will have a corresponding estimate, to which Gibb affirmed that Van Pelt’s project report “will come with site plans, and then it will have each of the projects defined, and with the project, you will have the project budget, and then you’ll have a funding strategy assigned to it,” as well as a suggestion as to when to access the funding. 

Trustees expressed excitement over the Facilities Master Plan, with Michael noting that he has “been through a lot of these, and sometimes you don’t get the total cost” and oftentimes master plans would just lapse without ever getting worked on.

“The detail of this (Facilities Master Plan) is going to be something we can carry through for years to come,” Michael said.

Board President Carrie Green said she was “very much looking forward to this process” and that this collaboration “is all shaping up to be a really good plan.”

The 2022–23 fiscal impact is a one-time cost of $94,720 to be paid from the following funding sources: Developer Fees (Fund 25), ESSER III (Resource 3213), and Discretionary Block Grant (Resource 6762), as needed.

The Trustees voted unanimously to adopt and move forward with the Facilities Master Plan as recommended.

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