Facility Improvement Plan



In January 2017 the Pleasant Ridge School District advertised for a Statement of Qualifications (SOQ) and a Request for Proposal (RFP) for Master Planning Services from qualified architectural firms. SOQ’s and Proposals were received on February 16, 2017. In the process of responding to the District’s RFP, it was clarified that the District was actually in need of architectural and engineering assessments of facilities, assistance in the development of future program improvements, deferred maintenance criteria and budget models for each, without the growth projections and associated research contained in a conventional Master Plan. Community Architecture responded to the District’s RFP with a “Facility Improvement Plan” approach.


Starting with the “Baby Boom”, the school-age population in California rose steadily over six decades, reaching a plateau, with certain regional exceptions, followed by a statewide decline in enrollment over the last five to ten years. Having and following a Master Plan was the tool of choice during the growth years. New and significantly different issues other than housing California’s growing student population began to emerge as themes over the last two decades.
While “Master Plans” to address growth and demographic shift across the State have became less significant as a planning tool, the need for “Condition Assessments” steadily grew in response to a myriad of new programs and criteria, including:
  • New regulations regarding state bonds related to the funding of school improvement programs;
  • The evolution and adoption of more stringent model building codes (the California Building Code (CBC));
  • Changes in state reporting (the Academic Performance Index (API) now replaced by the California School Dashboard);
  • The advent of self-certification by districts pertaining to State Allocation Board (SAB) funding applications;
  • Court ordered mandates (the William’s Settlement);
  • Federal civil rights legislation (the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA);
  • Federal initiatives (No Child Left Behind followed by Common Core)
All the above resulted in a changing landscape that re-focused facilities programs away from growth and toward adaptation and reconfiguration of existing facilities to meet new functional requirements and objectives.

New teaching/learning modes such as Career Technical Education (CTE) and Science Technology Engineering & Math (STEM) programs have led to the creation of specialized hands-on classrooms requiring a new set of classroom features, sizes and arrangements to support them. Even “Open School Plans”, similar to those seen in the 60’s have re-emerged, albeit in slightly different forms, with an emphasis upon small group learning spaces, team-teaching spaces, teachers as mentors, “flex spaces” and non-structured learning spaces, often layered with highly ambitious (and often expensive) sustainable, high-performance and energy conscious design features.

Through this transition, school facilities and systems continued to age, with mounting deferred maintenance costs to address the aging of school facilities that had expanded exponentially in the 80’s & 90’s with no clear funding stream to address the needs. Deferred maintenance issues and costs are at an all time high and require significant expenditures to keep schools up and running as safe, comfortable and clean environments for students and teachers.
Like so many school districts in California, Pleasant Ridge School District has not been immune to these dynamic facility challenges This Facility Improvement Plan has been prepared as a first step towards meeting those challenges. Next steps include; the prioritization of needs, readiness for unexpected systems failures that will require immediate attention, determination of funding sources and leadership to promote community commitment toward realizing a comprehensive and successful Facility Improvement Plan.


To start the assessment process a foundation of information was needed, including; building and site plans, agency approval status, age of structures and systems, square footage of buildings and site features, and a history of prior improvements. Community Architecture obtained a complete archive of building plans from the Office of the State Architect (DSA).

To gain a better understanding of the District’s needs and overall assessment of the condition of the District’s facilities, Community Architecture, and a team of highly experienced engineers and consultants specializing in public K-12 school facilities, performed multiple site walks. As walks were conducted and preliminary assessments were made, the scope of the Improvement Plan was refined to address desired program improvements.

Archive documents were cross-referenced to current school / campus maps and new electronic plans (AutoCAD and PDF file formats) were created. These plans then became the basis for square footage computations of all sorts; overall building, roof and floor replacement quantities, baselines for determining replacement costs and modernization costs, documenting the original construction date of buildings for the purpose of determining the probable life-expectancy of roofing systems and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment and critical life-safety systems such as fire alarm systems.

Organization and Use of the Plan

The Plan is structured in a somewhat linear fashion, beginning with an overview of the facilities, followed by site assessments, that then leads to descriptions of program improvements, deferred maintenance scope and preliminary cost estimates for each, supported by historic building and cost information to aid in current and future planning. In the preparation of the Improvement Plan two primary goals emerged. One, that it be useful now to understand the District’s current needs, and Two, that it becomes a reliable tool for future panning purposes.

In addition to the Improvement Plan, the District also now possesses a complete archive of historic construction documents, organized for ease of access and retrieval in both AutoCAD and PDF file formats, a variety of Excel files for calculating areas, uses, costs, cost factors, age of facilities and systems and associated agency approval status.

Thanks to the Participants

Community Architecture wishes to express our thanks and gratitude to the engineers and advisors who participated in the consulting, assessment and estimating process and a very special thank you to Rusty Clark, Superintendent, Gregg Motarjeme, Assistant Superintendent and Liz Randall, Assistant Director of Maintenance for their guidance and encouragement, the access given to the team to tour and evaluate the facilities, their open dialogue and for their critical input and review as the Facility Improvement Plan was being prepared.