gmhTODAY 17 gmhToday Nov Dec 2017 - Page 66

School Days New Master Plan for Facilities A t the heart of every great community is a school district dedicated to educating and supporting students to thrive and grow as future leaders. In the Morgan Hill Unified School District, nearly 8,700 students depend on dedication to this goal. Along with providing our students high-quality curriculum, we give care- ful consideration to the quality of their learning environment. Studies have proven that a child’s en- vironment plays an enormous role in their academic motivation and success. Last year, our school district partnered with LPA, Inc., to create a Facilities Master P lan (FMP) to help us better serve our students, staff, and the community as a whole. The FMP is a strategic plan informed by a comprehensive analysis of the school district’s current facilities (buildings, classrooms, athletics, nutrition, support, etc.) and how they function to support the educational and wellness goals for all. This master plan is the result of extensive collaboration among stake- holders—teachers, principals, directors, parents, students, alumni, city and law enforcement officials, and residents—to help identify key areas for school district facilities improvement. The final plan was adopted and now serves as a long-range roadmap for the renovation and new construction of campus facilities. 66 MHUSD is committed to providing innovative spaces that support 21 st Century learning and enhance music, art, and sports programs for our students. The FMP provides strategic direction and analytics that allow the Board of Education to make effective, impactful decisions in the future. It also recognizes that many of our schools need improvements that accommodate new models of learning, serve the needs of a growing local population, and ensure that our campuses adhere to the latest safety standards. “Classrooms with natural light, and space to move and collaborate help the learning process tremendously,” Nordstrom Principal Debbie Grove said. “I was honored to be a FMP stakeholder and work alongside many community members as we made decisions about how to update our facilities to ensure the best learning environment for all students.” Overall, the eight-month process engaged more than 750 people across 47 meetings and three online surveys. The planning process included one-on-one, focused interviews with district personnel and school site leaders; a workshop involving 36 student ambassadors with representation from each campus; a Facilities Master Plan Committee of approximately 60 members meeting monthly; and a community-wide Town Hall open to all residents within the GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 school district’s geographic boundaries. “The process went seamlessly and we had a robust showing of support from our community,” said MHUSD Director of Construction and Modernization, Casino Fajardo. “Our stakeholders were a diverse group, representing the passion for education that the Morgan Hill community exudes. It was a great way for the community to be involved in decision making that will ultimately affect the entire city.” Along with stakeholder input, the master plan includes a demographic analysis, based on a 10-year window, to forecast future enrollment across the district. The plan’s financial analysis component will assist the district in identifying potential funding sources for plan implementation. Funding challenges require the district to implement the plan in phases, the build-out is done as funding becomes available. The order of project implementation is based on district and stakeholder priorities. The Facilities Master Plan gives the district a clear roadmap to the future. Overall, it provides stability to district decisions; rather than making improvements based on a short-term perspective, the district can use this plan to ensure the long-term vision is honored and we are making the best decisions for our students and the community. By Kimberly Beare, PIO, Morgan Hill Unified School District