Budget Building for Public Schools
I have been a school board member in Maine for about eight years. The budget building process is an annual affair for board members. Some parts are easy; others less so. As an architect, facilities and maintenance line items are easy for me to understand, and critique. Admittedly, I struggle with other parts. For those about to start budget building on their own boards, there is a simple way to take some of the difficulty out of the facilities line items.
Budget building for facilities can be simple by using a method that works for a whole range of problems out of our areas of expertise: hire a consultant. In this case, hire an architect like Sealander Architects. We practice in eastern and central Maine. We have a focus on educational facilities. And, our experience on school boards means we understand public education in Maine.
We do more than just design buildings
Yes, we do. The design process begins by putting together a laundry list of building issues that need to be resolved. These issues run the range from heating and cooling systems, life safety, accessibility, poor envelopes, to dysfunctional classrooms, kitchens and bathrooms. That list is the basis for any school’s list of projects that need funding. Thus, our bread and butter activities are exactly the same whether we are designing a building or simply assessing for budget building reasons.
A complete assessment will prioritize issues. Is this an immediate concern? Are there risks to delaying a task for a year or more? A complete assessment will also have costs for the tasks. In fact, it is these costs that form the backbone to successful budget building. Prioritization and cost are also part and parcel with what we do as architects.
Cost of an Assessment
Is it expensive?
Hiring us to create a capital improvement plan costs money. Larger schools with many problems take longer to assess. Smaller schools with fewer problems can be done quickly, and inexpensively. Recent assessments have ranged from $5,000 to $15,000.
Perhaps the best reason to hire us to help guide budget building for capital improvements is peace of mind from relying on professionals. We are Maine Licensed Architects. We stand by our professional judgement to give schools consulting services that meet our standard of care. Boards and administrations can use our assessment documents as trustworthy guides.
Budget building can be stressful, particularly when dealing with budget categories out of our areas of expertise. Our expertise is buildings. We would enjoy the opportunity to help you.
For more on our facilities assessments, see here.