Facility Plans Left a Superintendent ‘Perfectly Prepared’
School Administrator, October 2022
|The Madison School District 321 in Rexburg, Idaho, headed by Geoff Thomas (below), completed a long-range facilities plan that identified current needs for the school board’s consideration. PHOTOS COURTESY OF GEOFF THOMAS
When Geoff Thomas was superintendent of the Madison School District 321 in Rexburg, Idaho, he knew his district had to expedite a school bond to accommodate the robust student growth generated by a new campus of Brigham Young University opening within its boundaries.
Thomas contacted me to assist him in this process. I teamed with the Madison school board and district administration to complete a long-range facilities plan that provided hard data on each of their 12 schools. The plan played an important role in the district passing the $27 million bond with an 81.6 percent passage rate on the first attempt.
The facility plan provided the 5,700-student Madison district with a building condition evaluation score for each of the 12 schools, costs for upgrading each school to a good condition, student capacities for each school (which ranged from 78 percent to 150 percent utilization of classroom space) and enrollment projections for five future years of student growth.
Their building renovation and expansion projects were developed from the long-range facilities plan, which included the number of new classrooms needed at each school and recommendations for general upgrades and improvements. It also called for remodeling in areas scoring lower than the good category. Additions to sports venues to accommodate an increase of student athletes and enhancements to meet the curricular needs of students were part of the overall scope of bond levy projects.
Thomas said this about the facilities plan: “I am a firm supporter of utilizing the LRFP process prior to considering any type of a bond referendum.” He believes the school district was “perfectly prepared” by the final document as it laid out a solid building plan for the district facilities committee — consisting of community members, parents, staff and the architects. This documentation gave them a clear understanding of the schools’ needs before it went to the school board, which issued its unanimous approval.
“This comprehensive process helped us pass our bond with the highest percentage of patron approval that we have had,” Thomas says.
— RICHARD BAUSCHER