It is more important than ever for school districts to educate their communities on why construction projects and referendums are necessary in order to ensure well-informed voters show up at the polls. With a history of working in the education sector for more than 75 years, we consider it our job to get around the table with our school district partners and share with them the valuable pre-referendum information we have gathered over the years. After all, if the referendum isn’t successful, there won’t be a building project.
One organization that recently utilized our pre-referendum services was Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC) in April 2012. Because the referendum was conducted during tough economic times and a turbulent landscape, our team had to create a customized plan with realistic milestones for each critical phase of the referendum.
The first step was to clearly and thoroughly identify needs. This meant understanding and responding to community and employer demands and priorities. Preliminary master planning, design and cost estimating were then conducted to assign square footages and budgets. Extensive input was gathered from key stakeholder groups including faculty, staff, students and valued community partners. This feedback allowed FVTC to use data to drive their decision-making process. The result? A clear road map that defined the need, schedule with milestone dates and budget requirements.
FVTC was acutely aware that asking individuals to vote for an expansion that required a tax increase was a daunting task. However, they also knew that a successful track record in education and training ensured a positive view of their brand in the region. In the end, the $66.5 million referendum passed with 66 percent approval.
It’s very exciting that soon ground will be broken on the approved projects and construction will get underway. The Health Simulation and Technology Center is scheduled for completion by the fall of 2013 while expansions to both the Agriculture Center and the Transportation Center will be complete by the winter of 2013. Finally, the Student Success Center addition will be complete by the fall of 2014 while the Public Safety Training Center is slated to be ready for use by winter 2014.
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