In Building Our Future Together, we’ve developed a future-ready master facilities plan for our schools. Explore our planning process, findings, recommendations, and rationale. If you are interested in learning more about the Community Engagement Sessions, click the menu item below. You can then explore the rest of this page to learn more about how we got to this point.
After accepting the recommendations of a Facilities Committee in 2018, the Board of Education hired DLR Group architects to facilitate the development of a comprehensive educational master facilities plan. Coined “Building Our Future Together,” the purpose was to use a highly collaborative process to ensure that our school facilities properly support education and pedagogy and to guide capital investments over the next 10-15 years or more.
The two-year undertaking, lead by a “Core Team” of community stakeholders, included five phases to ensure that community concerns and aspirations were understood, considered and incorporated:
And finally, in phase five, community feedback was sought to synthesize findings and recommendations into a long-term game plan for the Board.
In completing their charge, the Core Team found that:
Considering its findings, the Core Team recommends that the Board of Education:
School has changed, and our facilities should reflect evolving teaching and learning needs. The last decade (2010-present) is the longest timespan without major school construction or renovation in Batavia since 1955.
These needs start with students and recognizing the varied pathways our students will take when they leave Batavia Public Schools. Whichever path our students choose, we need to:
1a) Embracing the Core Team’s guiding principles and belief statements. In exploring the current conditions and needs for Building Our Future Together, the Core Team developed the following guiding principles:
In addition, the Core Team identified “must-have” items and spaces:
The Core Team also identified aspects that stakeholders do not want changed:
1b) Continuing to operate six elementary schools. Student enrollment has declined by 15% over the last decade and will likely fall by 2% annually for the next five years or more. Accordingly, the Core Team considered closing one or more of our six elementary schools. Preliminary analyses do not indicate significant operational cost savings, if at all, primarily due to offsetting student transportation costs. Further, potential impacts on home values and neighborhoods are uncertain and not likely positive.
Instead, the Core Team relied upon the input received from the community survey, which indicates a strong preference for maintaining all six neighborhood elementary schools.
1c) Replacing the four oldest elementary schools. The current facility conditions of Alice Gustafson Elementary (1957), H.C. Storm Elementary (1978), J.B. Nelson Elementary (1955) and Louise White Elementary (1978) indicate that it would be financially prudent to replace, rather than renovate, these facilities.
The cost of outstanding repairs and improvements to meet the vision are so extensive that rebuilding is most economical. Additionally, long-term maintenance costs are cyclical and compound due to inflation. Community feedback supported the school rebuilding option (52%), while approximately 34% disagreed, and 14% were neutral.
1d) Renovating the four remaining schools. The remaining schools, Batavia High School (1967), Rotolo Middle School (1992), Grace McWayne School (2001), and Hoover-Wood School (2001) require significant updates and renovations to align with the proposed vision and improve learning conditions.
The Board is responsible for over 65% of the average annual property tax bill in Batavia. While proportionally consistent with neighboring communities, Batavia’s property tax burden is already significant. The community is likely unwilling to support property tax increases.
2a) Increasing annual allocations for capital projects. For the last five years, the Board has allocated $1.5 to 2.0 million annually (1.5 to 1.7% of expenditures) to capital projects for safety compliance, maintenance of current assets or equipment, and improvements that enhance facilities, infrastructure, or programs.
The National Council on School Facilities recommends investing 4% of a facilities’ current replacement value annually on periodic renewals, alternations, and maintenance, which implies that the Board should consider at least doubling its current annual allocation.
2b) Seeking a community referendum within current debt repayment structures. The scale of the work identified significantly exceeds the Board’s financial capacity. Further, anecdotal community feedback does not indicate support for tax increases. Since the Board’s current outstanding bond debt will be paid off in 2026, it should consider a community referendum for new debt to support the master facilities plan without increasing the tax burden.
2c) Leveraging fund balance and other revenue sources. The Board has considerably improved its financial health in recent years, moving from ISBE’s “financial watch” list to “recognition.” Also, due to the pandemic, budget surpluses in 2020 and 2021 (projected) were greater than anticipated. While current fund balances are not inordinate, one-time contributions toward facilities may be prudent if they do not jeopardize cash flow.
The Board will also receive more than $2 million for coronavirus relief from the federal government. While such monies may not be directly eligible for capital projects, they may temporarily relieve other funding needs.
Our current facility conditions are due, primarily, to underinvestment and lack of planning for facility improvements. Going forward, the Board should ensure that adequate funding for maintenance and improvement of facilities is integral to all budgetary and strategic planning, including monitoring and performance metrics.
3a) Balancing and coordinating financial capacity with priorities. An in-depth implementation plan is necessary to coordinate project details, cost estimates, priorities, timelines, and feasibility. Community feedback indicates strong preference for addressing high priorities soon or now (71%).
3b) Protect our investments, now and in the future. The Board has committed additional funds in recent years to address the backlog of deferred maintenance. Community feedback supporting addressing deferred maintenance (90%) which suggests that the District should take a proactive approach so that facilities are maintained in “good” or “fair” condition in the future.
3c) Seeking guidance from community engagement professionals. Among the 1,100 community survey respondents, most have students in school and some groups are underrepresented. Although the majority of respondents indicated support for replacing facilities in poor condition rather than renovating (57%, with 14% neutral and 30% opposed), more community discussion around this topic is warranted. A comprehensive engagement strategy around referendum planning is needed, and the Board should consider hiring professionals with this expertise.
To implement these recommendations, the Board has directed the Administration and its standing committees (e.g., Resource Responsibility Advisory Council, Capital Projects Committee) to:
This is where the Community Engagement Sessions will help move the project forward.
The Board of Education charged the BPS101 administration to create a Facilitating Team of community members to facilitate Community Engagement Sessions to gather feedback from the broader Batavia community on the Building Our Future Together plan. The Facilities Team is made up of 20 community members and they met for the first time on Monday, December 20, 2021. The team will meet again in early January 2022 to make a plan to engage the community at five planned Community Engagement Sessions, the first is planned for Tuesday, February 1, 2022, from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM at Batavia High School, 1201 Main Street. Please enter at the Main Entrance. Details on the remaining sessions are still being developed. In the meantime, if you would like to make sure you hear about the upcoming sessions, please fill out this FORM to get on our email list.
Each of the Community Engagement Sessions will be on a unique topic relating to the Educational Master Facilities Plan. The details of how the plan was developed over the past several years can be found throughout the sections of this page. From rationale to recommendations, we encourage you to read through the plan to gain an understanding of where we are in the process. During the engagement sessions, we will then ask you to provide feedback on topics that are presented. Please join us at all five sessions if you are able, but attending one would also be very beneficial to us. The topics that will be presented at each of the five sessions will be communicated in advance, once they are determined.
Building Our Future Together (BOFT): This is the overarching name for the process of developing a future-ready Educational Master Facilities Plan. The process started in late 2017 and is ongoing.
Facilities Committee: This is the first group that was commissioned by the Board of Education to develop a long-term master facilities plan. The group was to be made up of approximately eight staff members and eight to ten community members to review and assess the District’s school buildings and develop a long-term master facilities plan for 2021-2026 and beyond. Here is the report they presented to the Board of Education in October of 2018. The list of committee members is found on page 21 of the report.
DLR Group: These are the architects that were hired in late 2018 by the Board of Education to facilitate the development of the Educational Master Facilities Plan.
Core Team: This group was assembled in April of 2019 to embark on the Building Our Future Together journey. This group was compiled of many stakeholders with a wide variety of experience and are responsible for helping the District to ensure that our school facilities properly support education and to guide capital investments over the next 15 years+.
2021/22 Facilitating Team: In November of 2021, the Board of Education charged BPS101 administration to create a Facilitating Team that consists of community members to facilitate Community Engagement Sessions to gather feedback from the broader Batavia community on the Building Our Future Together plan. The Facilities Team is made up of 20 community members and they met for the first time on Monday, December 20, 2021.
Community Engagement Sessions: These are 5 sessions that will be used to gather community feedback on the Building Our Future Together Master Facilities Plan. The first one is scheduled for Tuesday, February 1st at Batavia High School from 6:30-8:30 PM. Each of the five sessions will have unique topics and discussions, all resulting in feedback to be summarized and presented to the Board of Education.