Upper Darby School District Facilities Study

  • In 2015, the district created an Educational Specifications Committee to determine and propose changes to our facilities to enhance the academic experiences of our students in the 21st century.  Unfortunately, the district failed to meet PlanCon requirements and the proposed renovation and construction projects were deemed ineligible by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

    In 2016, the Board of School Directors created a Facilities Committee to:

    • Improve current facilities and infrastructure in accordance with education specifications and class size planning guidelines.
    • Develop a capital improvement plan and facilities plan.
    • Investigate and develop a plan to have all District schools located within current school district boundaries.

    The scope of the work of the Facilities Committee involved enrollment projections, building capacities and utilization, school boundary review, and school boundary scenerios.

    All presentations related to the Facilities Committee's work are detailed below.

  • Facilities Committee Update - April 2018

    The Facilities Committee provided the Board and the Public with 40 different scenarios to solve our current and future middle school enrollment needs. The Facilities Committee’s recommendation to the Board was to cost out a third middle school and consider either a concept school or a neighborhood school. The Board agreed to move forward with costing out a new middle school with at least 500 students. The location and type of middle school has not yet been determined.

    Comments (-1)
  • Demographer Contract - December 2017

    Administration provided the Board with a contract from Montgomery Educational Consultants to complete an analysis of the middle school building utilization. The middle school proposal will review 40 potential scenarios. Essentially 5 scenarios with 8 variations each from the following:  Current feeders, Addition at DH, New middle school, New neighborhood middle school, Expand potential new K-5 to K-8.Some Board members asked if current administrators could complete this work. Administration stated that the work could be handled by the District. Administration stated that it would delay the completion of the review of district facilities and the current software purchased by the District does not allow for as thorough a review of the data to complete the work. The Board agreed to move the contract forward to a vote in January with completion of the middle school review in mid-February.

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  • Facilities Committee Update - November 28, 2017

    The Facilities Committee provided the Board and the public with a costing out update of Scenario 32. The major capital improvements and potential new cost of an elementary school were presented to the Board. The overall major elementary capital improvement construction costs are estimated to total $180,000,000. The Facilities Committee also reviewed future enrollment trends, redistricting of elementary and middle school students, as well as a timeline for the completion of a new elementary school should the Board decide to move in that direction. The Facilities Committee recommended to the Board a review and cost to renovate Drexel Hill Middle School prior to taking action on the Elementary Facilities Study. After a review of the capital improvements priority list school by school along with a review of future enrollment trends, the Facilities Committee stated that the immediate facilities concerns seem to be with Drexel Hill Middle School and Beverly Hills Middle School. In order to complete a more in-depth look of both middle schools, the Facilities Committee asked the Board to consider taking action on a class size of 27 for planning purposes. Members of the Board agreed to move the 27-class size forward to a vote in December. The Board also suggested that administration meet with the demographer who completed the elementary study to provide a cost to complete demographic work for our middle schools.

    Comments (-1)
  • Facilities Committee Update - August 22, 2017

    The Facilities Committee reviewed three future facilities planning scenarios for the Board of School Directors and the public. The Facilities Committee provided the Board of School Directors and the public with 32 scenarios based on the following principals: Review of total number of enrolled students in their current neighborhood, enrollment of special education students in their current neighborhood, and reviewing building capacity and usage based on Education Specification completed by the architect. Each scenario was based on the following assumptions:

    All UDSD elementary school buildings will be used unless specified.

      The Senkow building will not be used.
      The Kindergarten building will not be used in its current grade configuration.
      The Kelly building will be utilized as a K-5 building.
      No modular buildings will be used.
      All kindergarten classes will be in the students’ neighborhood elementary school.
      All kindergarten classes will be half day.
      Space capacity will be configured based on the UDSD Education Specifications.
      No additions at Aronimink for scenarios where the Kindergarten Center building is used as K-5.

    Of the 32 scenarios, the Facilities Committee publicly reviewed scenarios 9, 31, and 32. Each graph for scenario 9, 31, and 32 has a series of abbreviations of terms that warrant further clarification (please refer to the presentation documents when reviewing this information). Key terms for interpreting each Scenario/graph:
      ADD/MOD= Additions and Modifications to buildings
      NS 69th St= New School 69th Street Athletic Fields
      NS Marsh.= New School Marshal Road Athletic Fields
      NS Kind= Kindergarten Center becomes K-5 school

      SE Included= Special education students in neighborhood without additional space
      SE Neighborhood= Special Education Students in neighborhood with additional space
      SE Silo= Special Education with programing on both sides of the District per Education    Specifications.
      RE= Regular Education Classrooms
      SE= Special Education Classrooms needed per Ed Specs
      IR= Instructional Room 320SF-750SF
      RR= Resource Room 250SF-750SF

    Under Programs CR Needed the information/numbers listed refer to the space a school would require to meet enrollment demands. The graph further explains the Building Classroom Available (Bldg CR Available) and Building Classroom(s) Empty (Bldg CR Empty) for each space. The data listed under the Capacity section demonstrates the number of students a school could hold based on regular education and special education classrooms. The utilization (Util) percentage is the total number of students projected to be enrolled in the school divided by the capacity (number of classrooms and space). Each scenario also has its own set of Neighborhood Planning Units (NPUs) or boundary lines (streets/addresses) displayed via a color-coded map. Each color represents a school and the neighborhood students who would attend that school. Each scenario also has a second map with a black line overlay and school name indicating current school boundaries and the school those students currently attend.

    The Facilities Committee reviewed 32 scenarios and presented the Board with what they see as the most efficient and least impactful (on students/families) current and future planning options. The 32 scenarios also provide the Board and the public with a plan to handle increased enrollment in the District at each school. Scenarios 9, 31, and 32 appear to meet the Boards original intent in completing a facilities study:
      Adhere to Educational Specifications
      Special Education programming on both sides of the district
      Locations of additions/modifications and relationship to capacity issues
      Have students currently attending Senkow Elementary attend neighborhood school
      Maximize students attending neighborhood schools
      Best location for new school based on natural boundaries
      Provide more opportunities for students to participate in after school activities
      Half-day Kindergarten program in neighborhood schools
      Redistricting with least amount of impact

    The Facilities Committee was able to eliminate most of the possible 32 scenarios because they did not meet the aforementioned assumptions, Board requirements for future planning, and the Education and Specifications plan completed by the architect of record. The Facilities Committee asked the Board of School Directors to approve a cost study of scenario 32. A deeper review of scenario 32 would provide the board with information for future decision-making: general cost of new elementary school, cost for an addition to Garrettford Elementary School, staffing needs for regular education and special education, and a more in-depth review of the Education Specifications document with our architect of record to review each space and impact on class size for each school. The Board clarified for the public that “deeper dive” and review of scenario 32 does not mean this scenario will be the final decision or future plan for the District. Board members also reviewed each map and questioned which neighborhoods and communities would be impacted by scenario 32. The Board asked that administration provide the public with more information about scenario 32 and the impact it could have on each school community. Board members further noted the need to highlight the exact streets and new boundaries for each school, daycare options, the plan to communicate this information to the entire community, and how the final plan would impact Board Policy; in particular, Policy 206: Student Assignment Within District. The Board gave consensus to move forward with Board Action during the September public meeting on a more in-depth review of Scenario 32. The Board is not finalizing this as the answer to District facility needs; rather, the Board is allowing for this option to undergo a deeper review of the information on a building by building basis. 

    Comments (-1)
  • Facilities Committee Update - July 25, 2017

    District Administration provided the Board of School Directors and the public with an update from the facilities committee. The Facilities Committee discussed the three following base concepts for planning purposes: Total Enrollment of Students in Neighborhood Planning Units (NPUs), Special Education Students in NPUs (inclusion), and Elementary Education Specifications. The base concepts also take into consideration the following assumptions:

    All UDSD elementary school buildings will be used unless specified.

    The Senkow building will not be used.

    The Kindergarten building will not be used in its current grade configuration.

    The Kelly building will be utilized as a K-5.

    No modular buildings will be used.

    All kindergarten classes will be at the student’s neighborhood elementary school.

    All kindergarten classes will be half day.

    Space capacity will be configured based on the UDSD Education Specifications.

    No additions at Aronimink for scenarios where Kindergarten Center building used as K-5.

    The three base concepts and the aforementioned assumptions led to no less than 30 different potential scenarios for the facilities committee to consider. The Facilities Committee recommended to the Board a more in depth review of the 10 planning scenarios aligned with the Elementary Education Specifications concept. The Board agreed with a more in depth review of the Elementary Specifications concept and would like an update during the August 22 Education and Pupil Services Committee Meeting. The Board requested more communication and sharing of information with the public. Administration stated that the Facilities Committee recommends holding separate public meetings on the information.

    Comments (-1)
  • Condition of Buildings Update - November 18, 2016

    A current condition of buildings assessment was shared with the board. This is a required item of the facility study, which is a prerequisite for PlanCon applications. Next steps include prioritizing our facility needs and developing estimated costs.

    Comments (-1)
  • Facilities Committee Update - November 18, 2016

    A facility committee update was presented. It included our 10-year enrollment projections. Also, guidelines for elementary class-size long-term planning were shared along with their resulting impact on the additional number of classrooms needed throughout the district. The Board provided consensus to move the recommendations for the class size guidelines to a vote.

    Comments (-1)
  • Facilities Committee Update - October 25, 2016

    As Part of the PlanCon A submission, a facility study must be completed within two years of the submission. Key components of a facility study include:

     Overview of the school district, including its geography, population, wealth and any distinguishing features

     Overview of the district’s educational program, including special facility or design needs related to future curriculum or instructional practices

      Objective analysis of projected enrollment for each grade

     Analysis of each building’s capacity related to the educational program, including the number of students each building can support, the type of educational spaces that are required, the number and length of classes per day, grade alignments and room sizes

     Assessment of each building’s physical condition, including the useful life of its mechanical systems, and its accessibility, code adherence, energy efficiency and cost to upgrade each building to current standards

     Analysis of construction options, including cost estimates

    In order to complete the one of the phases of the study, the School Board of Directors were presented with several options regarding elementary class sizes for consideration by members of the Facility Committee. It is important to note that class size is a determining factor in completing an analysis of each buildings capacity as it relates to the educational programs. The presentation provided three options for class size. The presentations provided both pros and cons associated with each option. The presentation made it is clear that all of the options have an inherent cost associated with them and that redistricting will be required (in some cases more than others). As cost of the projects is a variable dependent upon the determination of class size, the committee was not in a position to provide a cost analysis associated with each option.

    The School Board of Directors engaged in several discussions with the options. The primary questions raised related to what is the vision of the School Board for the future of the District and what were the costs associated with the option selected.

    The Board provided consensus to move forward to a vote at the November Committee Meeting after additional information will be presented by the Facility Committee; after the Director of Operations provides a report related to the assessment of each buildings physical condition and after additional public comment is provided.

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