K12 school districts assume a wide variety of responsibilities and activities that require suitable, productive, and safe working, learning, and recreational environments. You only have to imagine a school district without its facilities—its buildings, grounds, athletic amenities, playgrounds, assets, and infrastructure—to quickly appreciate their indispensable role in supporting the district’s overall objectives. In short, facilities are mission critical, as are the professionals who manage and protect them.
Although every K12 school district is guided by its own unique mission statement, common themes often include:
- Educating students to reach their maximum potential;
- Preparing students for higher education and the workforce; and
- Enabling students to compete and succeed in diverse and changing local and global societies.
Facilities play a vital role in achieving K12 missions. Convictions to create safe, quality learning environments are often listed as strategic elements for fulfilling on school district mission statements. This means that K12 facility management and safety and security professionals (i.e., “FM professionals”) must overcome the daily challenges that often hinder the effective planning, managing, operating, and improving of their property portfolios. They also need to improve their capabilities and processes for protecting people, buildings, infrastructure, grounds, and assets—all using limited budgets and resources.
These are not small tasks. In fact, they can seem overwhelming when considering the magnitude, breadth, and complexity of most K12 school district facility portfolios. The reality is that these challenges have become even greater in recent years as scrutiny increases over student-teacher ratios, safety and security practices, funding referendums, and sustainability in an era of ‘save time, save money, save lives, and save the planet.’
To address these growing challenges, many K12 school districts are turning to facilities GIS (geographic information system) solutions. This technology brings the visualization, analytical, and reporting power of GIS to facility management professionals. Facilities GIS is unique in that it uses location as the organizing principle for creating order out of complex FM information. This new approach to facility management—managing geographically—is already transforming the way K12 organizations operate.
First, this white paper discusses the value of GIS-based facility management and public safety technology solutions from the perspectives of four school districts in the United States:
- Beaufort County School District (BCSD), South Carolina
- Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), California
- Puyallup School District (PSD), Washington
- Charleston County School District (CCSD), South Carolina
Next, we will:
- Further define facilities GIS;
- Review the technology’s essential benefits to K12 school districts, including the value of existing data and systems.
Finally, we will look at how facilities GIS supports three mission-critical aspects of the facility lifecycle:
- Portfolio Management: Identifying, inventorying, analyzing, and managing property assets, owned or leased, and optimizing portfolio performance.
- Operations & Maintenance: Optimizing use of space, grounds, and assets while efficiently and sustainably managing and maintaining facilities and infrastructure (indoors and outdoors)—all while reducing lifecycle costs.
- Safety & Security: Proactively and effectively securing and protecting people, property, and assets.