District Hires GPD Architects to Develop Master Facilities Plan
Independence Local Schools Hires GPD Architects to Develop Master Facilities Plan
At the November 20 Independence Board of Education meeting, GPD Architects was hired to lead the district in developing a master plan of its facilities. They will engage the staff, community and key stakeholders in assessing current and future needs and consider options for future plans to best serve the students and citizens of the city of Independence. GPD Architects has extensive experience in designing educational facilities to meet the constantly evolving needs of teaching and learning in the 21st century.
Over the past few years, the district has been studying the needs at each of its facilities with the help of the facilities committee. This committee is comprised of residents with various backgrounds in construction, finance, business and education. “It became apparent that we were continuing to spend large amounts of money fixing our primary school, middle school, and board offices, yet the list of needs didn’t have an end in sight,” said Assistant Superintendent Tom Dreiling, Independence Local Schools. “Our group realized that this may not prove to be the best course of continued action and that doing nothing to our facilities was not an advised option. As our committee began to explore our facility needs further, it became apparent we needed to engage in a more formal process.”
In the fall of 2017, the district took advantage of a Facility Needs Assessment program offered by the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC). The OFCC provides a service to school districts, at no cost, that involves an architect firm and construction company coming on site to examine the current status of our facilities and create a building analysis report. The district received its OFCC building analysis report this summer. District administrators met with OFCC representatives, along with Hammond Construction, who orchestrated the analysis. “This meeting was useful as it revealed not only what we had known about our aging facilities, but also more items that need serious attention,” said Dreiling. A summary report was created and reviewed as part of the OFCC partnership (Facilities Assessment Program) the district entered into in the fall of 2017.
This summer, the Board agreed to sign up for the OFCC Expedited Local Partnership Program (ELPP). ELPP is designed to give districts not yet participating in the Classroom Facilities Assistance Program, the opportunity to move ahead with portions of their project. The Board entered into an agreement with the OFCC on the planning of a Facility Master Plan that covers the entire needs of the district.
GPD Architects will work with the district during the Facility Master Plan development. They will help the district gather input from students, parents, community members and school personnel regarding what we want education to look like in our district moving forward. The next step will be to use that information in determining the design and cost factors moving forward to address the facility needs. Once input and information are gathered, the district will finalize its Facilities Master Plan and present it to the Board of Education for review, possible revisions and adoption.
“We believe that the design and physical structure of a school shape the development occurring within its walls,” said Senior Project Manager Rodwell King, GPD Architects. “Supporting schools at both the K-12 and higher education levels, our education-focused professionals make it their mission to inspire students and facilitate learning through specially designed structures and use of state-of-the-art technology. Our culture of collaboration enables GPD’s in-house team of designers to create environments that are safe and secure, timeless, and inspiring to students, educators, and community members alike. We look forward to working with the Independence Local Schools on developing this master facilities plan.”
“We want to provide the best educational facilities our community will support. Our facility audits and research show our current primary and middle schools need significant work to make them current - and that is not even including repurposing for 21st century engagement,” said Superintendent Ben Hegedish, Independence Local Schools. “We have very deliberate goals focusing on our teaching and preparing our students for the future. We believe we have found an outstanding partner in GPD Architects, a team that will help us develop our master facilities plan to present to the Board of Education and ultimately, to the community, for their support. It is a very exciting time of brainstorming and planning for us at Independence Local Schools!”