News

What is a Facilities Master Plan?

Posted on: July 25, 2019

On June 27, the members of the newly-formed Community Advisory Team (CAT) held their first meeting at the Milford Schools Administrative building. Over the next several weeks, they will meet five more times to develop a proposal for completing the district’s Facilities Master Plan (FMP). In the first meeting, the group reviewed the history of the FMP, as well as the projects still needed to complete the plan. 

A facilities master plan is a critical strategic document for a wide range of governmental and non-profit organizations. These plans are commonly used by public school districts, universities, healthcare networks, park systems and more to guide the long-term development and maintenance of their facilities.

Some larger organizations have ongoing FMPs that are constantly updated and renewed. For example, the University of Cincinnati has multiple ongoing master plans. Ohio State University has an ongoing plan, called Framework 2.0, to make sure their facilities meet the learning needs for today’s students.

For smaller organizations, like public school districts, the master plan is usually a finite process with a beginning and end. Many neighboring districts are in various stages of implementing a plan. For example, Goshen, Loveland, and Sycamore are in the beginning stages of developing a plan. Cincinnati Public Schools completed their plan in 2014. Milford is in the final stage of its FMP.

Why does the district need an FMP?

The FMP is a valuable tool because it provides long-term planning guidance. Most FMPs cover three broad areas:

  • Identification of facilities needs

  • Exploration of funding options

  • Recommendation of solutions

The FMP is a long-term planning document. For example, the district’s FMP was created in 2000 and has been in place for nearly 20 years. Over that period, board members and administration members have changed multiple times. However, the FMP allows the district to pursue a long-term strategic plan even as personnel changes.

While the FMP is a long-term planning tool, it also has to be flexible enough to adapt. Circumstances can change quickly. The district’s experience with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) is a great example of how changing dynamics can impact the FMP.

The district used OFCC funds to build two new elementary schools -  Charles L. Seipelt and Boyd E. Smith. Those two buildings completed segment 1 of the CFAP program with OFCC. The district then operated under the assumption that OFCC would partially fund segment 2 of the FMP - the construction of a new middle school.

However, the district was passed over for funding in 2016, 2017 and 2018 primarily because an unexpectedly high number of districts passed bonds and moved ahead of Milford on the funding list. After waiting more than three years to start the new middle school, Milford finally learned in late 2018 that OFCC funds wouldn’t be available in the near term.

This kind of change in circumstance requires flexibility in the FMP. The FMP identifies facility needs and a variety of solutions, but it’s up to the board, administration and community to determine the best course of action. The members of the CAT are volunteering their time and talents to identify the most effective solution for the final phase of Milford’s FMP.

What is the status of Milford’s FMP?

As mentioned, Milford created the FMP in 2000 with input from the community and OFCC. The FMP identified several areas of need: six new elementary schools, transitioning preschool services into a new building, renovations to the high school and replacing the junior high.

 

Status of Milford's Facility Master Plan

Status of Milford's Facility Master Plan Projects

Six Neighborhood Elementary Schools

This phase was started in 2001 with the passage of a bond. Four new elementary schools - McCormick, Mulberry, Meadowview and Pattison opened in 2004.

The two remaining schools - Seipelt and Boyd E. Smith - opened in 2016. OFCC funded all but $2 million of construction costs for these two schools through credits earned by the district through the ELPP program, in which the district fully-funded the first four elementary building projects.

Additions and Renovations to Milford High School

During the development of the FMP, OFCC and Milford Schools officials determined that Milford High School was in need of renovation. Nearly 40 percent of the renovations were completed in 2007. These renovations included the addition of the Ninth Grade Community and the music wing, as well as updates to the public areas of the school, like reception, entryways and the cafeteria. The 2007 renovations were funded through bond refinancing and a bond renewal that did not increase taxes.

Some of the recommended renovations to the high school are still incomplete. These include things like a larger, more functional auditorium, a new HVAC system, roof repairs, a larger media center and updates to classrooms to make them more conducive to group work, STEM and technology-based learning.

Replace Milford Junior High School

This phase remains incomplete. The May 2019 bond proposal would have funded a new middle school to replace the junior high, along with funding for the remaining high school renovations. However, the bond was defeated, so this phase hasn’t begun.

In summary, the district’s FMP status is currently as follows:

Phase 1 - Elementary Schools - COMPLETE

Phase 2 - High School Renovations - PARTIALLY COMPLETE

Phase 3 - Middle School Replacement - INCOMPLETE

The CAT’s purpose is to develop and recommend a consensus proposal to address the remaining projects in the FMP. Once the FMP is complete, the district will have facilities that support team learning, hands-on learning, STEM, and technology-based education, and prepare today’s students for successful careers in a rapidly-changing world.

Our job as educators is to prepare students for their future. Today’s students will have a future that is substantially different than the world previous generations experienced. As the world around us changes, so too should our educational spaces. The FMP is helping us create that change, and the CAT is helping us develop solutions. The district looks forward to the upcoming CAT meetings and community feedback sessions.