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New School Site Selection, Process and Criteria

Site Selection Process

The site selection committee will examine and rank sites based upon cost, research, technical criteria and performance standards listed in "Criteria" below.

After completing site rankings, the committee will prepare a report outlining the advantages and disadvantages of all sites, and preferred alternatives. The committee will then hold at least two public meetings which will be advertised and scheduled no less than one week apart. The meetings are designed to inform the public as well as solicit community input. The proceedings from the public meetings will be included in the site committee’s final report to the Superintendent and the Board of Education’s Capital Outlay/Property Committee.

The District will then publish the preferred alternative’s location in the legal section of the newspaper to advise the public of the District’s intent. Committee meeting minutes, technical criteria, deliberations and other pertinent material will be made available to both the public. The legal advertisement will appear at least once a week in local newspapers until the expiration of the 30 day advertisement.

The preferred site’s initial advertisement will begin a 30 day period during which alternative sites may be registered with the Superintendent. All alternative sites must meet the same technical, educational, and cost criteria outlined in "Criteria" below.

Alternatives received by the Superintendent will be forwarded to the Board’s Capital Outlay/Property Committee where they will be considered along with the School Site Committee’s recommendations. Unless sufficient cause exists, the Board’s Capital Outlay/Property Committee will neither accept nor consider proposals received after the expiration of the 30 day period.

The Board’s Capital Outlay/Property Committee shall not make a school site recommendation to the Board until the expiration of the 30 day review period.

Responsibilities

The school site selection committee shall be responsible for identifying, examining, analyzing, and ranking potential school sites. The committee will hear public testimony and compile a written report with a recommendation for a school site to the Board’s Capital Outlay/Property Committee.

Committee Membership

Preliminary site selection and analysis will be conducted by a community and technical team consisting of the following:

  1. Appropriate assistant superintendent (Committee chair),
  2. Citizens’ Advisory Council Representative from the appropriate region,
  3. Principal or faculty representatives from affected schools,
  4. Parent representatives from schools potentially affected by the new facility,
  5. Neighborhood Association representative,
  6. Planning Unit representative, 
  7. Property Manager,
  8. Architect or Engineer from Facilities Planning,
  9. Facilities Master Plan representative,
  10. Transportation Department representative.

Criteria

Community Considerations

The committee will examine and analyze community needs to determine the type of school site that best meets both local and District needs. The committee will prepare a written report that will cover the following issues:

  1. Community economic and demographic profile
  2. Existing platting and zoning
  3. Existing road network 
  4. Community growth and development potential - the team will consider vacant land, potential population at full build out, plans for development, Long Range Major Street Plan, existing City and County area and sector plans, transportation and access issues, environmental advantages and disadvantages (e.g. flood plain, noise, odor, vegetation, topography, utility rights-of-way, etc.)
  5. Educational mission of the school 
  6. School’s ability to serve the local community
  7. Distance from other relevant APS facilities
  8. Potential boundary lines 
  9. Community and neighborhood issues

The report’s preliminary findings will be presented to the public for their review at no less than two public meetings which will be advertised and scheduled no less than a week apart. Public comments will be included in the report to the Board of Education Capital Outlay/Property committee. The Site Committee’s findings and recommendations, along with public input will be incorporated into a document that can be used during the subsequent site selection process.

Educational, Demographic, and Technical Considerations

The site selection committee will address all, but will not be restricted to meeting or exceeding, the following technical, environmental, and educational criteria:

Educational Program. All new school sites will demonstrate a flexibility that will enable them to meet diverse student and community needs and demands. Academic programs, special education requirements, and local community needs must be assessed during the site selection process to insure that the site will impose no physical or geographic barriers to the school’s educational mission.

School Location. Schools should be conveniently located for the student populations they serve. Schools should be located in areas that minimize busing while promoting student, parent, and community access to the school.

State regulations identify school bus eligibility based on a walking radius of students to their school. Students living outside of the following service radians may be eligible for bus transportation.

  • Elementary School 1 mile
  • Middle School 1.5 miles
  • High School 2 miles

The site should be central to and easily accessible tot he present and/or future population.

Utility Availability. Utilities must be available or readily accessible and they must meet funding and time constraints established by the District. The utilities checklist includes:

Water for both domestic and fire requirements as established by local, state and/or federal regulations.

  • Sanitary sewer.
  • Natural gas service.
  • Three phase electrical service.
  • Storm sewer or the downstream capacity to handle storm run-off.

Geologic Analysis. Prior to a comprehensive geotechnical subsurface investigation, a general inquiry for all candidate sites must include information on the following characteristics. The conditions would include, but not necessarily be limited to:

  • Type of soil and its bearing capacity. 
  • Expansive soils. 
  • Collapsible grain soils.
  • Depth to water table and underground streams. 
  • Rock. 
  • Hazardous waste.

Should deleterious conditions be suspected, further investigation will be necessary.

Topography. The overall slope of a site should be flat enough to allow for ease of construction and circulation, and yet be steep enough for proper site drainage. For planning and construction purposes, an overall site slope of 2% is considered excellent (e.g. 2 ft. of fall/100 ft. of run). Site low points and off-site drainage requirements must also be considered in the site suitability analysis.

Traffic Analysis and Access. Whenever possible, the site should be located so as to safeguard the children from arterial highways, heavily traveled streets, traffic and congestion, especially at the elementary level. The site also needs proper access on as many sides as possible to allow for the safe circulation of both pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

Environmental Hazards. The site should be a safe and secure environment for the student population served. The site should be free from on- and off-site hazards that include, but are not restricted to the following:

  • Toxic waste and man-made landfills.
  • Noise, smoke, railroads, airports, odoriferous plants or industries.
  • High voltage transmission lines, booster or reduction stations, high pressure gas lines, and transformer stations.
  • Bulk storage plants for flammable liquids.

Usable Acreage Requirements. School sites should be large enough to accommodate present and anticipated programs as well as the present and the expected population of an area.

Based on a review of existing APS school sites and commonly accepted national standards, the following guidelines for net usable acreage (total acreage minus excessive slope, drainage, etc.) for each level are:

Net Acres Low Preferred
Elementary Schools 10.0 15.0
Middle Schools 15.0 20.0
High Schools 40.0 50.0

Site Acquisition and Development Costs. Land prices, site development costs and construction estimates should be made in order to purchase the site which best meets District educational goals, budgetary constraints, and project time lines. Expenses which may carry costs above and beyond normal levels should be analyzed at all candidate sites.

Strategic Land Acquisition

Strategic land acquisition which protects the long-term fiscal and financial integrity of the District will remain a function of the district administration and is not subject to the process outlined above.

NSBA/NEPN Classification: FE

Revised: May 1995
Revised: April 1996
Revised: June 1997

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