Facilities Report 2018

  • Facilities Assessment
    What follows is an April 23 memorandum to the Board of Education from Interim Chief Financial/Operating Officer Bruce Ellerman regarding the assessment.

    About 3 months ago, pursuant to a rigorous proposal evaluation and selection process, the Board approved the recommendation from the Building Advisory Committee to engage an independent consulting firm, EMG, to perform a comprehensive facility condition assessment (FCA) of the district’s aging buildings and infrastructure. This FCA consists of developing a detailed inventory of district building systems, components and subcomponents and determining the age, condition, remaining useful life and replacement cost of each item. It also includes a 20 year projection of annual capital needs to maintain existing district capital investments in good functional operating condition. Please note, however, it does not include any enhancements or expansions to such space other than what naturally could be expected as building components wear out and are replaced with newer, more technologically advanced versions.

    The building and equipment inventory developed as a part of this FCA represents the first step in developing a systematic and sustainable facilities management and planning approach for the district. An essential element of constructing and administering such a facilities maintenance plan is to have a complete inventory of district facilities and improvements which further details the age, condition, maintenance needs and expected replacement timeline/cost of every major system component. These major system components include:

      • External Structure (envelope, foundation, windows, doors, roof, structure, etc.)
      • Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC, which includes boilers, cooling towers, chillers, air handlers, ductwork, etc.)
      • Electrical
      • Plumbing
      • Internal Structure (ceiling tile, lockers, walls, interior doors, flooring, elevators, lighting, fire protection/alarms, etc.)
      • Athletic fields and facilities
      • Paved areas (roads and parking lots), sidewalks, fencing, drainage, exterior lighting

     Maintaining and repairing/replacing these components on an on-going basis requires a large investment of resources—both in funding and manpower. Specifically, the Webster Groves School District has about 900,000 sq. ft. of district building space under roof as well as acres of paved parking areas and miles of sidewalks, along with numerous play/athletic areas. These buildings and improvements represent a community investment of over $158 million (excluding contents) based on estimated replacement/insured costs. This represents an average of about $175 per square foot.

    Until now, the district has largely approached the repairs and replacements of district buildings and components on a year-by-year, case-by-case basis depending on funding availability and priority of need. However, with district facilities continuing to age and with the end of the “5 year funding cycle”, it is becoming increasingly important for the district to have a well thought out and comprehensive long range capital/facilities plan that can help predict and prioritize needs and that can be kept up to date each year going forward.

    As part of this comprehensive assessment, EMG performed the following activities:

    • Inspected and documented the condition of all district facilities (excluding Pacific Avenue)
    • Identified and documented deficiencies therein
    • Compiled a facilities assessment database/inventory (in a spreadsheet format and sortable on multiple criteria) for the district including all information on district facilities and major components thereof which can be easily updated each year for continuing relevance
    • Provided useful life information and determined where each structure/system/major component falls within its life cycle
    • Identified opportunities to improve facility efficiencies
    • Developed numerical scoring systems for current conditions and identified deficiencies, i.e., a facility condition index (FCI) for each building and each major building component
    • Established a priority scoring system for corrective actions
    • Prepared cost estimates for current and projected future corrective actions/repairs/replacements
    • Developed recommended schedules for corrective actions, renewals and replacements

    While a 20 year projection was included in EMG’s final FCA reports for each district building, only the 5 year summary for the overall district and for each district campus is being provided for Board reference at this time. The complete reports (which are about 70 pages each in length) will be kept on file and available in the District Facilities Office. They can also be posted on-line for public inspection once they are finalized and approved.

    One of the primary takeaways from this work and EMG’s report is that in spite of their age and past limited resources, most district facilities are currently in (and for the next few years can be expected to remain in) reasonably good overall shape (with the primary exception being Moss Field.) This is a credit to the Maintenance and Facilities staff. However, as district facilities continue to age over the next few years, projections indicate significant capital investment may be required to keep district facilities in reasonable, safe and efficient operating condition. The Board is to be commended for engaging this assessment work as it puts the district in a position to more reliably predict and plan for such future needs.