NC District Protects Current Budget & Makes Case for Future Resources
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CLIENT: Gaston County Schools
GEOGRAPHY: Gastonia, North Carolina
VITALS: 202 buildings, 31,700 students
CHALLENGES: Needed a district-wide solution for assessing aging buildings
RESULTS: Assessed all facilities and offered an easy way to document and share findings
ADDITIONAL BENEFITS: Long-term capital planning to understand future needs
Gaston County Schools benefits from long-term capital planning with help from YCH Architects and Dude Solutions Work & Asset
The average age of most buildings within the Gaston County Schools’ system is between 35 and 60 years old. With almost 5,000,000 square feet contained within 202 buildings on 56 different facility sites, the need for a district-wide facilities assessment plan had become a top priority for recently appointed Superintendent Jeff Booker. “Our need for improving school facilities was obvious, but we needed a comprehensive way to document and communicate these needs, specifically in terms of funding, in order to develop an effective long range capital improvement plan,” said Superintendent Booker
Facing the enormous task of evaluating the aging buildings for both educational adequacy and facility conditions, Gaston County Schools selected YCH Architects to perform a comprehensive facilities assessment. Previously, YCH had performed a similar study for a neighboring school system of comparable size. Gaston County Schools and YCH choose to utilize the most current technology available to input and manage the data collected.
Dude Solutions’ web-based capital forecasting solution gave Gaston County Schools and YCH Architects an easy means to create a plan of action built from best practices and reliable life cycle data, helping articulate a clear case for additional needed resources. This insured that there would be a sound investment in planning to prioritize school repairs and avoid cost spikes over time.
Working together to forecast the future
Utilizing Work & Asset, the YCH team, led by Bill Hughes AIA, began by evaluating the school facilities. All components of the school facilities were comprehensively assessed, including the building envelope and interior, outdoor play and athletics areas, food service, plumbing, mechanical, electrical, fire alarm communications, and security systems. The assessment identified over $100 million in capital improvement needs, documented with over 3,000 deficiencies. Hughes noted, “Work & Asset Management offered our assessment team an innovative way to document, input and manage an enormous amount of data and budget information in a format that could be easily shared and communicated on many different levels of detail.”
The ultimate goal of the process was to adequately convey long term funding needs for schools to both the public and elected county representatives. “Gaston County Schools now has a comprehensive assessment, performed by highly experienced professionals utilizing state-of-the-art technology, that convincingly represents the capital needs for their schools,” said Hughes.