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“Superb” owner’s rep allows school district to stretch facility improvement budgets

As our board and individual board members have said this before but it bears saying again, I would like to express appreciation to Realpoint (formerly Cresa). You folks have done a superb job for the district, and a superb job for the board of education. Your work is not our forte, but I absolutely believe we could not have stretched our dollars farther or we could not have done as good as a job as we were able to do if you were not there as an owner’s representative leading us through that process.
Colleen Burton
Livonia Public Schools Board Vice President

The client: Livonia Public Schools 

As the ninth largest school district in Michigan, Livonia Public Schools (LPS) aims to provide innovative, future-forward offerings to its students and community. For more than a decade, Plante Moran Realpoint (PMR), formerly Plante Moran Cresa, has helped LPS develop modern learning facilities that support the district’s mission.

2013 bond program: $195 million to address facility needs

In 2012, LPS’s academic buildings were in need of updates, but the recession and state budget cuts were still top of mind to voters. The school board engaged PMR to thoroughly evaluate the condition and usage of its facilities and assist with developing, communicating, and executing a bond proposal in May 2013.

Following a successful $195 million bond campaign, PMR acted as owner’s representative, guiding the district through procuring multiple architectural, construction management, professional firms, and other vendors for the six-year program. We oversaw design and construction, using a cloud-based program management information system to ensure all parties collaborated to share real-time project data. In addition, Plante Moran’s K-12 technology consulting team assisted the district with $26 million in Wi-Fi, computing, security, and network upgrades.

Our planning and oversight ensured the district’s funds were well managed to complete the program’s entire scope. PMR also helped evaluate the district’s utilization, which led to the closure and disposition of two elementary schools.

The 2013 bond program included two new and one remodeled performing arts center at the high schools and district-wide renovations to improve security, infrastructure, technology, temperature control systems, lighting, doors, windows, finishes, and aesthetics.
Livonia Franklin High School Performing Arts Center

Livonia Franklin High School Performing Arts Center

Sinking fund: $100 million for additional projects

As LPS’s trusted advisor, PMR was also engaged to help oversee the 2015 sinking fund program, taking an active role in helping the district plan and execute additional projects such as roofing, parking lots, boiler replacements, and athletic field improvements simultaneously with the bond program. We were also re-engaged to plan and help pass a new 1.6 mill sinking fund, allowing the district to reinvest in its facilities for the next 10 years.

2021 bond program: $186 million in updates and new construction

PMR was once again engaged to help with pre-bond planning and owner’s representation for the 2021 voter-approved $186 million bond proposal to improve and upgrade LPS’s classrooms, technology, and security.

Included in the bond was a new 19,000-square-foot robotics center addition to the Livonia Career Technical Center (LCTC).

LCTC Robotics Center Main Hallway - Livonia Public Schools, Michigan
The LCTC houses multiple technology, healthcare, and building trade classes. The addition includes two robotics labs, additional flex classrooms, student collaboration areas, a glass-front corridor, medical simulation labs, and more.

LCTC Robotics Center Main Hallway

Also funded by the bond was a new 70,000-square-foot Early Childhood Education Center. The state-of-the-art Early Childhood Center will house 28 classrooms for instruction, a library area, large motor-skills areas, spaces for occupational and physical therapy, family activity areas, a demonstration kitchen, mud rooms, conference spaces for staff, and outdoor play structures. The Early Childhood Center is the first new building for the district in over five decades.

The benefit: Trusted advisor from day one

By having an experienced and trusted advisor involved from day one, LPS completed over a decade of projects knowing our team was there to support the district’s administration and board. We added value at every step, from our capital planning services prioritizing the district’s capital needs over time, to helping the district pursue successful bond campaigns and sinking funds, to providing the resources and expertise to handle scope, budget, and schedule preparation and oversight over the past decade of capital projects.

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