"In the Know" Weekly Newsletter - The International School

Self-Study: School Plant

The school plant section of the NWAIS Self-Study is intended to help the school review its facilities and related processes and plans.

TIS facilities reflect the school’s history of rapid enrollment growth and program development. Buildings have been added and rooms reconfigured over time to meet the space requirements in a given year. In 2009, the board began an extensive, strategic process to address the school’s facility needs for the future. The first step was a site-selection process to review possible alternative sites for the school. The process evaluated over eighty different properties against a broad array of metrics representing the school’s future needs. The review determined that the current site was best-suited for TIS, and established it as the school’s permanent home.

With that determination, TIS developed a Campus Master Plan (CMP) to lay out a vision for developing the school’s physical plant. The CMP was adopted by the board in 2011. The first stage was implemented in December 2012, with the purchase of the existing Hilltop building and adjacent undeveloped property. Thanks to those purchases, the school owns all parts of the main campus except the large playground, which is leased.

For the next stage of the CMP, the school is planning a ten classroom building on what is now undeveloped property. The building cost has been projected at $6 million. A capital campaign is in its initial phases; construction will begin once 75% of the total has been raised. See intlschool.org/campus (LINK) for details.

Concurrent with the strategic campus development, the school has taken steps to meet current space needs. For the fall of 2014, we will move all PreK and LowK classes to a new, leased facility nearby in John’s Landing. This will free up space on the main campus for our increased retention in K through 5th grade classes, and for badly needed office and meeting space.

On a day-to-day basis, facilities play a critical part in the school’s operations, beyond providing mere walls and roofs. A four-person facilities team supports many aspects of the school’s daily operations, focusing on campus safety and security, cleanliness, and specific support for teaching, learning, and administration. In addition to addressing daily maintenance, upkeep and program-based needs, the facilities team has instituted a system of inspections and reviews for ensuring that maintenance, repairs and replacements happen before emergencies occur. These include regular, detailed inspections and maintenance of playground equipment, HVAC systems, emergency lighting fixtures, windows, doors, locking mechanisms, plumbing and bathroom fixtures, seals and electrical items, sprinkler systems, fire extinguishers, backflow devices and roofing. Indoor air quality and other “Healthy Schools” characteristics are always considered in meeting the school’s short and long-term facilities needs.