Saturday, January 18, 2020

On combining facilities management in Worcester

Did you know we had a report on this? Me, either!
It's here, in the backup to the Worcester School Committee agenda this past week.

The Worcester Public Schools run 64% of the public buildings in the city but they represent 80% of deferred maintenance.
The schools have 55 buildings, of which 40 still need work on roofs. In fact, check out this chart from page 12 of the report:
This would seem to be relevant information in considering future capital budgets.

One of my questions during the meeting about this report was about alignment of departments, something that I thought WPS had well underway. Part of the response mentioned in passing the reorganization the administration undertook the first week of January, putting Capital Projects and Environmental Management together with Facilities under Jim Bedard as the Director; Paul Comerford is Maintenance Supervisor and Building Automation Systems, and Tom Barrett remains Coordinator of Buildings and Grounds. And thus, yes, that wasn't particularly, it seems, a critique of the school department. 
The city, it seems, is running multiple facilities departments, and so they're working to consolidate that before anything beyond possibly sharing the work of tradesmen with the schools.

The piece that I asked the Mayor to pursue cityside--and this is cityside--is consolidate capital planning. We don't have a single process for this, and we should.

The Mayor then raised the reimbursement rate MSBA is giving to the city now; that's out for study under the Student Opportunity Act!

Under the item on Columbus Park, the calling out of DPH of the rest of the HVAC systems' need for a replacement cycle led to the recommitment of the facilities master plan to subcommittee, along with a request for a process for an update on the plan (to include the schools built after the 1990's, not included in the report, because they aren't--or weren't at the time--eligible for MSBA renovation or rebuilding).

Possibly also relevant: the Committee passed the Statements of Interest for MSBA Accelerated repairs for a boiler at Vernon Hill and the roof of Worcester Arts Magnet. In light of all of the foregoing, I suggested--and I'm still honestly figuring out where else we should go with this, so let me know if you have thoughts--that with the increased funding for MSBA, we might suggest a third type of program: something that isn't the strictly boilers/windows/roofs of Accelerated repairs, but provides for projects that also don't rise to the level of full renovation and replacement. It's a thought.

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