Since my first submission in July of last year, a great deal of outstanding work has occurred throughout the District. Three of our elementary schools were recognized as Gold Ribbon Schools (the 4th school was recognized two years ago), our music and sports programs continue to thrive and the overall educational experience for students continues to improve, reflecting research and trends in public education. As always, our focus is to ensure our schools are safe and welcoming, student-centered and forward thinking as we prepare our students to thrive in the 21st Century.
A particular area of work that is generating a great deal of enthusiasm, and which is designed to enhance the overall learning environment for students, centers on our efforts with Measure S and the completion of our Facilities Master Plan. Approval of the Measure S Bond has initiated an exciting process, resulting in a number of improvements throughout the District. We are grateful to our community for investing in the infrastructure of our schools, which in turn directly contributes to the success of our students through enhanced 21st-century learning spaces. As a reminder, the four primary areas of the Bond include modernization and technology upgrades; health, safety and security improvements; infrastructure improvements and student support facilities.
In early March, the completion of our District Wide Facilities Master Plan brought to fruition the cumulative efforts of the BUSD community. We used a robust process to solicit input, holding multiple meetings at each school site, meetings monthly with the Facilities Steering Committee and quarterly with the Bond Oversight Committee, open house presentations held at the District Office, and a special Board study session to thoroughly discuss all aspects of the plan. The plan was then brought to the March 3rd Board meeting for further discussion and approval.
The plan works as a tool to identify and prioritize needed facilities improvement projects across the district. This document will continue to be updated annually, facilitating our eligibility for more state monies as they become available. Project boards are posted in the district office and the full report is available on our website. You will note the priority areas for the master plan, which include critical portable replacement projects, learning spaces and modernization projects, high impact education environment projects and education support projects.
A key feature we wanted to ensure was woven tightly into the facilities master plan is the element of futuristic thinking in relation to learning spaces for students. We are exploring innovative furniture designs, placement of technology and the foundations of flexibility in how we utilize classroom space to maximize the teaching and learning experience. While there is efficiency to the old design of desks neatly lined in rows with the teacher positioned in front of students, this model can be limiting to the overall learning experience.
We are excited to note that we have made substantial progress among many of the major projects supported by the bond. Completed bond projects have improved facilities throughout the District, including roof replacements at Benicia Middle School and Mary Farmar Elementary, upgrades to playgrounds and sports fields, and technology infrastructure and phone system improvements at all locations.
Bond projects that are currently in progress include robust improvements to safety and security systems throughout the district, including camera security and fire alarm systems as well as public address equipment, and the BHS Stadium track and field complex. The stadium project is moving along nicely and we are scheduled to break ground this summer.
In our ongoing effort to keep everyone informed of our progress, we are committed to providing regular updates on our website, utilizing publications such as this one, and posting signs at each school site illustrating completed projects and works in progress. A great deal of exciting work will be taking place over the next several years, and we appreciate the community's interest and continued support.
Thank you again to our community for making these improvements possible. The results will yield great assets, not just to our children but also to our community at large.
Bond Citizens Oversight Committee- Project Updates 04/12/2016
Completed Bond Projects
1. Technology Infrastructure Upgrades all schools
2. Phone System all schools
3. Playground upgrades at all Elementary Schools
4. Roof at Benicia Middle School
5. Roof at Mary Farmar Elementary School
6. Softball Field Bleachers
7. Exterior Painting at Benicia High School
Bond Projects In-Progress
1. Clocks/Bells/PA upgrade and replacement
2. Camera Security System
3. Fire Alarm System at BMS
4. BHS Stadium Track & Field