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ELC/NJIT UNDERTAKE JOINT PROJECT FOR SCHOOL FACILITIES LONG RANGE PLANNING

ELC and the Center for Architecture and Building Science Research at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) have unveiled a proposed framework for Abbott districts to begin the second round (2005-2010) of school facilities planning. Each district must submit a new long-range facilities plan (LRFP) to the State Education Department no later than October 2005.

ELC and the Center have also designed a small brochure, "Community Guide to Planning Better Schools", to explain the planning process to parents and community members. The two-page brochure can be used to help community stakeholders understand what role they can play in planning for future district facilities needs and to encourage community participation in the process. Multiple copies for distribution can be easily printed directly from this brochure's PDF file.

On May 25 and June 2, ELC and NJIT briefed a large audience of Abbott district superintendents, business administrators, facilities managers, architects, planners, and advocacy groups on the proposed framework. Presenters stressed that the planning process should begin now to correct deficiencies in the first LRFPs (1999-2004) and to ensure educationally adequate and community centered school facility plans. The initial steps of the suggested LRFP framework, developing a "Plan to Plan," include a sample resolution for the Board of Education, along with a resolution for the municipal government to link schools to community development efforts.

While designed for the unique Abbott school construction program, the framework is a useful tool for school facility planners and advocates in districts in other states. The framework begins to answer a key national issue: how to establish comprehensive, needs-driven policies for district-wide facilities planning.

The ELC/NJIT partnership is designed to provide technical assistance and support to Abbott districts in the planning process.