New Master Capital Plan aims to provide additional clarity, transparency
CASTLE ROCK – Feedback received from the public has helped to shape a new and improved Master Capital Plan. The revamped document unveiled this month is intended to better inform decision making, by providing Board of Education members and all stakeholders with easy-to-understand information about the District’s needs, as well as the most efficient use of capital funding. This is especially important, given the significant growth expected in the District over the next 20 years.
The 2015-2016 Master Capital Plan was formally presented to the Board of Education during its November 18 meeting. According to the report, the District faces $280 million and $329.7 million in needs over the next five years.
Master Capital Tier System
Four tiers were established to help differentiate levels of needs. Within each tier are three levels of acuity as determined by a number of factors, including actual condition, anticipated lifespan, etc. Below are examples of the type of work that would fall into each tier.
During the presentation, the chairman of the Long Range Planning Committee, Todd Warnke, explained how feedback from a series of town hall meetings on the District’s capital needs last school year resulted in an improved Master Capital Plan document this year.
“Based on the community feedback we received we've assembled a document that shares two things that are remarkable: more detail and greater clarity,” Warnke said.
The revamped Master Capital Plan is intended to better inform decision making, by providing Board of Education members and all stakeholders with easy-to-understand information about the District’s needs, as well as the most efficient use of capital funding.
Among the improvements in the structure of the document: more detailed information is provided about each capital project, and then ranked by level of need.
“[The old Master Capital Plan] just gives a lump sum—how much is needed over the next five years,” explained DCSD Planning Manager, Shavon Caldwell. “This assumes optimal funding, that it is packaged in a bond, and that we would renovate a school from top to bottom, renewing everything by life cycle.”
“Just because something is past lifecycle, doesn’t mean that it is equal priority,” Caldwell explained. “For instance, landscaping would be a much lower priority with limited funding than something like roofing. That is why we tier it.”
By detailing projects and ranking them by tier, District leaders are gaining a clearer picture of needs, so they can address the most important items with the funding that is available or anticipated in the future.
“We want to give a variety of options. Instead of just giving one number, we are breaking it out into a variety of different ways,” Caldwell said.
“We want to provide more detailed information to support informed decisions regardless of the funding climate,” added DCSD Director of Planning and Construction Rich Cosgrove. “It is important to note that all building components eventually deteriorate. When they reach a point where attention is needed, it is then immediately prioritized and funded to address the issue. We do have issues that we have responded to and one hundred percent of our schools are safe and code-compliant.”
As in previous years, each and every school is represented in the plan. This year, however, new graphics with standardized measurements make it easy for users to contrast the level of need at each building.
More transparency is provided regarding the cost of projects. The new Master Capital Plan breaks everything out, starting with the baseline cost of materials and then offering a span, which considers inflation, regulatory costs and other factors, which might be incurred if the project was grouped with others in a potential bond package.
More than just capital needs: New Master Capital Plan warns of significant growth
The plan does more than just catalog current needs, it also provides forecasts regarding the needs of the growing District.
In the next five years, projections show that growth will need to be addressed in Castle Rock and Parker.
Additionally, this year the time horizon has been expanded to capture the significant growth expected over the next 30 years.
“By 2040 this District is forecasted to double in size up to 118,000 students,” Cosgrove said.
As the District looks at how to address those needs, the Master Capital Plan will offer even more options. For instance, readers can now see the cost differential between constructing new buildings using District standards versus residential commercial standards, as well as the drawbacks.
“We got the question quite a bit in the outreach—why does it cost so much to build a new school? What are the expenses? Why does it cost so much more than residential development?” explained Caldwell.
“Value engineering is basically reducing up front capital costs while maintaining value to the customer. The pros and cons of that approach are discussed in detail in the master capital plan,” Cosgrove said.
Previously, District buildings have been built to last 50-75 years. Residential standards have a more limited lifespan.