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Superintendent's Message: Help plan for growth

As we all look at the number of construction projects underway along 172nd Street, it is important that you know where we are in our planning around enrollment and the identification of facility needs. There are opportunities to engage and to understand how enrollment, facility and site conditions, along with program development, are impacting how we prioritize improvements to our facilities. There is a CFAC Committee Community Forum this Tuesday evening in the Lakewood High School Commons from 6-7 p.m. This will be a chance to once again hear about our work and offer input. There will also be an enrollment forecast presentation this Wednesday night at the Lakewood School District Board of Directors meeting, starting at 6 p.m. in the Lakewood High School Library or on Zoom. You can also stay up-to-date on what our committee is considering by visiting our CFAC webpage. We continue to welcome input through ThoughtExchange.

As I have shard previously, our district has convened a volunteer Citizens’ Facilities Advisory Committee which includes staff and community members. This group is charged with reviewing enrollment, facility conditions, program, and educational priorities with the task of recommending capital project priorities that may be addressed through currently available capital facilities funds, as well as through a potential future capital levy or future bond proposition. For our evaluation of needs, we are reviewing a recently completed enrollment forecast study completed by Flo Analytics (which will be presented to the board this Wednesday, May 17) , as well as a professional building condition analysis conducted by McGranahan Architects (presented to the board on April 12), and a natural hazard/seismic analysis conducted by structural engineers at PCS Structural Solutions. In addition, our committee has toured all buildings with Alex Vanduine, our Facilities Supervisor, and the principal or administrator supervising that school or department. The committee has met 6 times, hosted one community feedback forum on April 18, and will be hosting a second community forum this week, on May 16 in the Lakewood High School Commons at 6 p.m.

At this point, the CFAC group has visited all schools and departments. They are currently identifying priorities across the school district and prioritizing them into immediate needs—those issues that may need to be addressed soon; short-mid-term needs that need to be addressed over the next couple of years; or long-term needs that should be addressed over the next several years. These priorities are currently being informed by what we are learning about our projected enrollment needs, as well as what we recognize are limitations or problems that need to be addressed in our schools and on the sites where our schools are situated. The needs we are reviewing is comprehensive. Our detailed review has been organized around four essential questions shaped by the Lakewood Compact: A Small District Going Big Places:

  • What are the near-term improvements our school buildings need? How should we address them?
  • How can our school buildings better support students’ experiences of safety, belonging, curiosity and joy? How can they be better learning environments across the district?
  • What do we need to do with our school facilities to accommodate anticipated growth?
  • How can the Lakewood SD educational campus be improved with respect to play, daily traffic, and community use?

There is simply no way to capture in a letter the vast range of needs that we are discussing and prioritizing. I encourage you attend our forums, hear about our work and offer input—at in-person at forums, board meetings, or via ThoughtExchange. Our schools belong to our community. Your partnership is critical to ensure that these spaces reflect our vision of the future for our children and for Lakewood.