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Capital Improvements

Improvements to schools are funded by bond sales and capital reserve funding. Bond funds must be first approved by the voters of Jefferson County. Capital reserve funding is derived from annual transfers from the general fund.

When a new school is built, it is assumed to have a life expectancy of 50 to 75 years. Approximately half of the initial construction cost is expended on components that wear out and have to be replaced once, twice, perhaps even three or four times during the life cycle of the building. Finishes, roofs, hardware, equipment, plumbing, heating and ventilating apparatus and electrical devices all have to be replaced or upgraded at intervals ranging from 10 to 35 years.

These replacements are capital renewal, not maintenance. The cost of a building is much more than the construction cost. As with an automobile or a home, the life cycle cost of a building can easily be many multiples of the initial cost.

For most of the history of Jeffco Public Schools, capital improvement programs have been focused toward construction of new space of growing student enrollment. Recognizing the importance of the learning environment in accomplishing the district mission, capital needs are also based on major components of schools and educational adequacy of existing facilities.

Open enrollment, alternative schools, magnet programs, charter schools and home schooling have combined to change the community model of public education. The unpredictability of market conditions makes long-range capital planning extremely difficult. A middle school building may stand for 50 years or more, but during that time it must serve 25 separate parent-student “customer” groups through different administrators and educational program concepts. Older schools compete with newer schools to attract students and staff.

The typical capital construction program only addresses one out of every three or four unfunded identified needed projects. Prioritization determines which are funded and which are deferred:

Priority Group 1: Critical Projects

  • Potential risk of injury and/or property loss
  • Health and Environmental Safety Projects
  • Code and Life Safety Projects
  • System Failure/Damage Projects

Priority Group 2: Necessary Projects

  • General System Integrity
  • Building Envelope
  • Security
  • Technology Permanent Facilities for Students
  • Existing Instructional / Auxiliary Service Program Support
  • Expansion of or Change in Instructional Program Support
  • Permanent Facilities for Support Functions
  • General System Upgrades
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Accessibility
  • Support Systems
  • Existing Instructional Program Support
  • Expansion of Instructional Program Support
  • Upgrades of Existing Support Function Facilities

Priority Group 3: Desirable Projects

  • Projects that improve the environmental qualities e.g., installation of plantings and shrubs, carpet replacement for esthetic reasons.
  • Projects that provide for programs or conditions beyond the adopted district standards and programs common to a particular building type.
  • Projects that enhance the appearance of a building or site or increase the convenience of its use.
  • Renovations or infrastructure upgrades to support new programs, such as libraries or outside programs.

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