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The School District of Osceola County (Fla.)
The School District of Osceola County is in the heart of Central Florida, with 47 schools spread throughout Celebration, Kissimmee, St. Cloud, Poinciana, and Harmony. The School District has twenty-four elementary schools, eight middle schools, eight high schools, four multi-level schools, and two adult education schools. SDOC is a fast-growing district, with over 67,000 students currently enrolled. The students of Osceola represent over 100 different countries and speak over 100 different languages. Our number one priority as a Maintenance Department is to create a better working environment for our students, teachers, and staff.
With aging facilities, some over 40 years old, we face many challenges and limited capital funding to encumber these challenges. Aged systems were starting to fail beyond the point of repair, urgent work orders began piling up, and facilities overall appearance continued to deteriorate. In the fiscal year 2014/15, the Maintenance Department decided to act. We created a facility condition assessment (FCA) to access all our facilities maintenance needs. We found over a $100,000,000 was needed to cover our 5-year projected maintenance plan.
An analytical database was built to track and prioritize desperately needed capital projects. In 2015, we conducted assessments of all our facilities utilizing our trained specialists from their designated zone. The results were devastating, and even more so knowing there wouldn’t be sufficient funds to address all needed repairs. We set forth to prioritize all projects by holding monthly meetings with our in-house staff members. Through these meetings, our assessment, and all the information gathered, we were able to put together a strategic capital plan. This plan is composed of our 5-year, 6-10 year, and 11-20 year projected capital projects. All deferred 0-1 year needed capital projects are evaluated and prioritized. When prioritizing our capital plan, we must consider our budget, the current economy, availability of our vendors, and how many projects our District can handle managing within the year.
In such a dynamic environment it’s challenging to create a functional facility condition assessment. Every day, we have over one hundred employees reporting and completing work orders out of our Maintenance Department, this affects our facilities needs in one way or another. This work, along with subcontracted vendor projects needs to be tracked to reflect progress on our FCA report.
Additional challenges we face are prioritizing projects to create a schedule, conducting comparable assessments to all facilities, estimating the cost to plan for prioritized projects, and deficiencies in funding for projects.
Each year, we learn from past experiences to plan, track, and estimate cost for all projects associated with our FCA. We’ve created new processes along the way to keep all information updated. We use our work order system (TERMS) to track completed work and look out for failing equipment through constant repairs which helps us plan for future projects. Health and safety reports are analyzed to detect needed future projects. E-Builder is used to manage current projects while storing project details and warranty information. It also helps us track the age of completed projects, which enables us to set up preventative maintenance schedules to keep equipment running properly. Cyclical maintenance schedules have been created to plan repair or replacement projects as far out as twenty years.
In the fiscal year 2015/16, the Maintenance Department had its first prioritized projects plan in place. However, with limited capital funds, not much could be done to complete projects from this plan. In the fiscal year 2016/17, reassessment occurred, and an updated prioritized projects plan was submitted. Things changed for SDOC this year when a half-cent sales surtax was authorized. Incorporating a new funding source, we could now put our focus on completing critical deferred maintenance projects. Our first sign of relief came in November of 2016, when we received funding to schedule and complete our first set of FCA prioritized projects. Since approval of the sales surtax, the Maintenance Department has subcontracted and managed the completion of over 75 projects from our FCA prioritized projects plan.
The Maintenance Department’s FCA database is utilized by our District to coordinate current and future projects. Our FCA reports have also brought in additional funds from the State by highlighting our district’s needs. We refer to our FCA database to make the best logical decisions for our District’s needs. Our Department’s mission statement is to “provide exemplary maintenance services to our facilities for the students, staff, and community of Osceola County to learn in and enjoy.” We feel that our dedication to this statement and our fully functional FCA database will accomplish just that.