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Sycamore Schools Embarks On Master Facility Planning

Our Future Starts Here

Sycamore Community Schools is making plans to enhance our 21st-century learning environments for current students and future generations. The district is developing a Master Facility Plan that includes feedback from students, families, staff, and the community.

Master facility plans are typically informed by enrollment projections, facility assessments, and operational realities. While the district is taking these factors into account, Sycamore Schools recognizes that a complete master plan should also anticipate the emerging educational needs of its students and staff.

More than a year ago, the district embarked on a multi-phase process that includes assessment, community engagement, and educational visioning. A Master Facility Steering Committee, comprised of district administrators and Board members, was established to guide the process.

Phase I began with a district-wide facilities assessment. A team of experts was brought in to evaluate all buildings, examining the architectural and structural condition as well as the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing. The most urgent facility and operational needs were identified and addressed. From this thorough assessment, the district was given an in-depth analysis of the costs to renovate compared to the cost to build a new facility.

During the Fall of 2017, the Board of Education hired SHP Leading Design to assist Sycamore Schools in developing a conceptual master plan that is cost-effective and meets the long-term educational needs of the district. The firm was selected after district officials interviewed several strong teams of design officials. Leading the project for SHP Leading Design is Charlie Jahnigen, a 1995 Sycamore graduate.

The district began receiving input from students, staff, and families in January 2018 as Phase II of the process. The information gathered in Phase I will be presented as part of the Community Engagement phase. Community members will have the opportunity over the coming months to actively participate in helping decide the future of the district’s facilities. The district plans to hold community meetings, small group gatherings through May. The community feedback provided will be a crucial component in the decision-making process as to whether the district renovates or replaces any of its facilities.

During the Spring of 2018, the district will also engage the community in educational visioning to understand the shifts occurring in education and determine the impact on the future of our schools. This process will clarify what Sycamore Schools should look like in the future and to articulate how updated facilities could support that transformation.

The district hopes to have a number of Master Plan options by Summer 2018 with a Concept Test in place by early Fall. SHP and the Steering Committee plan to have a recommendation to present to the Board of Education by December 2018.