Don Briselden is director of physical plant at Phillips Exeter Academy in Andover, New Hampshire. In addition to serving as a member of APPA's K-12 Task Force, he is the dean for general administration and management for the Institute for Facilities Management.

A Helpful Vision: What is it all about

I am trying to imagine how it must be to manage the facilities of a school or school district without the benefit of the network, shared knowledge, and access to technical resources that most of us within APPA enjoy. Perhaps it is like accomplishing a single-handed ocean sail, or climbing a rock wall without the technical gear; rather lonely and perhaps risky.

Early on in our task force discussions, it became clear that facilities managers in K-12 settings needed access to a network that could provide current and helpful information. That understanding then developed into our objective which is to provide a sustainable resource of current core benchmarking and best practices information to all K-12 facility managers.

It may be helpful to address each of the highlighted items in that objective sentence.

Obviously such an undertaking will require support and a commitment of resources. Is it worth it? That conclusion will ultimately need to be made by the users and those who provide the resources. Benefits of Providing Current Benchmarking and Sharing Best Practices Information We know that the model will identify the costs and support that will be required to sustain this resource opportunity. Yes, it will have a cost side, and a significant one. What are the benefits? At this stage, we have not included a formal cost-benefit analysis. However, our view is that the long list of intuitive benefits has great appeal and pursing the model at an affordable cost is worthwhile. Here is a partial list of the benefits that could accrue.

Developing Implementing Strategies

Fine you say. Having an intention and an outline plan is commendable, but how will the model be developed? Well, the task force committee has identified these implementing steps:

  1. Identify the strategic and operational benchmarks that are core to K-12 processes and which the processes will maintain.
  2. Set the expectations for the K-12 Task Force and understand the expectations of our clients, the K-12 community.
  3. Provide the necessary awareness and education so that the K-12 entity knows and understands the availability of the benchmarking and best practices resource.
  4. Focus our energies so that we are delivering the resource in an effective and efficient manner.
  5. Develop a resource delivery process that is sustainable over the long run.
  6. Determine optimum related facility costs, utilities and services to support public education.

So, with that as a summary, I can now say that you have read what it is all about. We expect to develop a working model within a year and have it available via the Internet. As the development process moves forward we will use APPANet and the K-12 listserv to ask for feedback and suggestions. We will be back in touch.