BOND PROJECTS FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT'S THE LATEST?
To view the latest updates on our bond projects, please refer to the Files and Folders section of this site. The most recent presentation is dated 8/22/2016.
We are keeping our promise to provide safe and secure entrances at our schools. The main building entrances at eight schools have already been redesigned with two sets of vestibule doors, along with an immediate passage to the office, a better visitor verification system, and lock-down capabilities. Buildings with the new entrances are: Stoney Creek High School, Hart Middle School, North Hill Elementary, Long Meadow Elementary, Van Hoosen Middle School, Meadow Brook Elementary, McGregor Elementary, Reuther Middle School, and the Administration Building.
During construction, every precaution will be taken to ensure the safety of our children and staff. Environmental conditions, such as dust and noise levels and air and water quality, will be carefully monitored. A six-foot high fence will be built around the construction site. Temporary fire walls will be built in the schools in order to keep construction zones separate from occupied areas. At no time will students be left alone with a construction worker or team; however, workers are still required to comply with proper screening protocols. All workers will be issued a photo identification badge. Traffic flow and parking will also be clearly marked and defined.
What are the primary purposes of the bond projects?
The primary purposes of the bond projects are to enhance student safety and security, and to assure that schools, school facilities, equipment and technology are updated and in good repair.
Who will benefit from completion of the bond projects?
The bond projects will benefit every student at every school and school facility across the district. All bond projects are designed to maintain the community’s investment in its school district and to reflect positively on homeowner property values.
How did the district determine the need to fund the updates, renovation, and construction?
The bond projects are an outgrowth of the school district’s strategic plan. The strategic plan called for a review of RCS’s infrastructure, including facilities, technology, student safety, and school security. To conduct this review the school district formed a Technology and Infrastructure 2020 Committee composed of more than 50 citizens and school district staff. The Committee worked with an architectural firm, a program management firm, and a technology firm to develop the report for the Board of Education. The Board reviewed the report and streamlined it to address the most urgent needs over the next five years. In May, the Board approved a resolution to place a bond proposal on the election ballot. On November 3, 2015, Rochester-area residents overwhelmingly voted to approve the bond proposal.
What general areas will be impacted by the bond projects?
Voters residing within the boundaries of the Rochester Community School District voted to extend the current tax rate to fund updates, renovation, and construction in seven general areas:
- Improving student safety and school security
- Addressing critical needs in roofs and in electrical and mechanical areas
- Upgrading technology and technology infrastructure
- Improving classroom and school interiors and refreshing classroom furniture
- Establishing permanent spaces for Pre-Kindergarten, adult and special education
- Improving playgrounds, school sites, athletic facilities, and fine arts facilities
- Replacing school buses as they reach the end of their useful life.
How long will it take to complete all of the bond projects?
The bond projects will span over a five-year period of time.
Who determines the project schedules?
A team of district administrators, along with representatives from architectural, construction, and technology managers, are engaged in planning the construction schedules. We are committed to ensuring that the projects are planned in a manner which will preserve instructional time for our students, designed to what we can afford, and constructed in a timeframe that matches our budgeted schedule.
What type of work is included in the project schedules?
The projected schedules include the following work: Pre-design and Committee Work; Design Work; Permits & Bidding; Pre-Construction; Construction; Intermittent Construction; and Mobilization.
How are the project schedules determined?
What factors are taken into consideration? The planning process is extremely complex and requires a holistic view of the district. When looking at the buildings and determining the schedules for construction, the following areas are taken into consideration:
- The impact of construction on educating our students. More extensive work will be completed during non-school hours as much as possible so as not to disrupt classroom instruction.
- Efficiency and time management. Schedules will assure maximum cost and time savings. Less extensive projects may be arranged in between more difficult or lengthy projects to improve efficiency and productivity.
- The age of the building and the last renovation. Consideration will be taken to permit older buildings to be addressed first.
- The needs of the building. A building may not be older than others, but may have critical needs that need to be addressed earlier.
- The type of building structure. Projects for buildings with similar needs and the same type of architecture may be better addressed at the same time.
- Planning for the unknown. Projects may need to be adjusted as variables and unknowns are introduced.
- Investments. All projects will align with the projected construction cash flow.
What buildings have similar needs?
- Brewster, Hugger, Musson and University Hills
- Brooklands, Delta Kelly and Hampton
- Hamlin and West
- Long Meadow and McGregor
- Reuther and Van Hoosen
What buildings were affected by the previous bond efforts?
In 2004, the school bond primarily provided funding to update and expand Van Hoosen and Reuther, add on to ACE, build the Facility Operations Center, install energy conservation improvements in certain buildings, and add artificial turf at the three high schools. It also included $8 million for technology.
In 2000, the school bond primarily provided funding to build Delta Kelly, renovate West and expand North Hill, Long Meadow, McGregor and Meadowbrook Schools. The office areas of Brewster, Hugger, Musson and University Hills were redesigned to enhance security. The 2000 bond issue also improved heating and ventilating systems in certain buildings, funded a district-wide area network for technology, and added one computer for every five students.
The 1997 bond issue primarily provided funding to build Stoney Creek High School and renovate portions of Adams and Rochester High Schools and ACE. The 1997 bond also funded technology which is still being used in our schools 17 years later.
What technology is included in the bond projects?
All technology upgrades are designed to support classroom instruction and enhance the learning environment. A primary focus is to establish and implement a process that assures standard technology is available in every classroom. School district technology upgrades include: Classroom printers, scanners, plotters, and language labs Desktop, laptop, and mobile devices District information systems Higher level technology courses Secure network devices to increase reliability Installation of technologies to improve student safety and security Assuring equitable access to technology across the district.
Has committee work started yet?
Yes. As with the pre-bond planning, the district recognizes and appreciates the value of the community’s input. Committees were introduced in January and are focused on the following needs: school safety and security, fine arts and special classrooms, athletics, Pre-K, and media, technology, and collaborative spaces. Committees are comprised of building administrators, staff, parents, residents, and consultants for construction, technology and architecture.
How can I get involved in volunteering for one of the sub-committees?
The district has developed an application process for community members to inquire about serving on a building sub-committee. Simply follow the Bond Project Information link located in the left corner on our district website.
What is involved with serving on a sub-committee?
Sub-committee members are volunteers who represent the interests of the community and make recommendations related to the future steps for bond projects. Representatives will include parents, students, staff, and business and community members. Interested candidates must be available to attend evening meetings on a regular basis, maintain an objective point of view for the good of the organization, and have a working knowledge of the specified subject area. Sub-committee members will be selected by district administrators based on need and will be notified of the decision through the contact information provided.
How does the district plan to enhance the educational experience for students through the projects?
In order to enhance opportunities to inspire and challenge students across the district, we will be forming a curriculum and instruction sub-committee that will assess influencers such as technology drivers in the classroom, instructional practices, and student learner needs. It is anticipated that this work will continue for 6-12months.
Why am I not seeing any work being done?
The estimated timelines include pre-construction work to include pre-design and committee work, design work, and permits and bidding. In addition, much of the technology, electrical and mechanical work will be conducted in less visible areas of the buildings.
Will students be displaced from the classrooms during construction?
We will make every effort so as not to displace the children from classrooms during construction efforts.
What about security during construction?
The safety of our students and staff is always our utmost priority. At no time will students be left alone with a construction worker or team. During construction, managers are required to build temporary fire walls in the schools so construction zones are completely separated from the main buildings. Weekly safety meetings will also be conducted onsite with the sub-contractors.
Is there asbestos in the current school buildings?
The asbestos was removed from the school buildings during previous projects; however, we will still be surveying the buildings to identify any unknowns.
What is the plan for the building in front of Brooklands School which is currently vacant?
Demolition of the building will begin on June 27, after students are out of school. The process is expected to be completed in the mid-August timeframe. After demolition is complete, the site will be graded, grass will be planted, sidewalks and parking lots will be preserved, and students will return to clean, safe, enhanced school grounds in September.
Will the district be able to salvage any of the old materials?
The district will remain conscious of the need to salvage and/or repurpose as much of the old material as possible and within reason.
Will buildings lose parking during construction?
No, we do not anticipate that parking will be affected during construction.
Who are the bond project service providers?
The Board of Education approved the bond project service provider recommendations as presented by district administrators. They include: French Associates for architectural services; Frank Rewold and Son for construction management; and Convergent Technology Partners for technology design.” The award of senior manager for underwriting services to Stifel Nicolaus, and that J.P. Morgan and Fifth Third Securities be appointed co-managers of the issue.
How were the bond service providers selected?
The district issued requests for proposals for architectural, construction management, and technology designer services. The district received proposals from three architectural firms, three construction management companies, and four technology designer firms. A district committee was then formed to review and evaluate each proposal. The review team conducted interviews over a two-day period with representatives from all of the service providers who submitted a proposal. Each service provider was evaluated on specific criteria including: Adherence to the RFP instructions and scope of services; Qualifications of the proposed staff for the project, including prior experience with K-12 technology and construction projects; Relevance of the firm’s K-12 experience to the proposed elements of the district’s projects; Contract exceptions if included by the firm; Responsiveness regarding oversight of contractors and vendors, resolution of change orders, and attention to project detail and deadlines; Timeliness of the response to the RFP and clarification questions; Team compatibility; and Fee Proposal.
The district further issued requests for proposals to three financial management firms for senior manager of underwriter services. The review and evaluation committee evaluated each firm on the following criteria: Adherence to the RFP general instructions and scope of services; Marketing plan; and Firm qualifications, including the number of personnel and sales force, number of projects and dollar amount managed as a senior manager, and capital base.
What is the timeline for selling the bonds?
$128 million in bonds was offered in January 2016. A second series of bonds totaling $57 million will be sold in May 2019. Money will be invested to match the estimated construction cash flow needs over the next five years.