K12 capital project expertise saves district millions during bond programs

Plante Moran Realpoint's services have been a godsend and well worth the cost.
Martha Toth
Van Buren School District Board of Education President

PMR helps secure funding for capital projects

Van Buren Public Schools (VBPS) is a 4,600-student school district in Belleville, Mich., and long-time client of Plante Moran Realpoint (PMR), formerly Plante Moran Cresa. VBPS first engaged Plante Moran Realpoint (PMR) for pre-bond planning and program management services after previous failed bond elections to construct a new high school.

PMR reconceived the bond proposal in 2008, working to understand and integrate the needs of the community and the school board. The bond then passed, resulting in an award of $79 million for capital investments in the district to construct a new high school and update other aging educational facilities. PMR's ability to assist the district in obtaining federal funding for the project saved the district an estimated $12 million in interest payments alone.

PMR saves school district millions on bond projects

Guided by the district’s educational goals and objectives and PMR's student demographic analysis, PMR worked with the architect to right-size the high school in a new plan that reduced overall square footage by 20,000 square feet. The $4 million saved in the reduced space was used to invest in better building materials and technology upgrades that could help cultivate long-term savings on operational costs and upkeep.

Additionally, PMR reviewed the original construction schedule and identified phasing considerations that reduced the construction time frame from 48 to 36 months, saving the district $1.4 million and permitting VBPS students to benefit from occupying a brand new 366,000-square-foot high school a full year ahead of schedule. Other bond projects included renovations the gymnasium, pool, athletic field, track, and tennis courts.

Trusted advisor for sinking fund and new bond proposal

After the bond work was completed in 2012, PMR has continued to work with VBPS on planning and implementing its sinking fund projects, passed by voters in 2014. The seven-year sinking fund has encompassed high-priority needs for each school each year, including control upgrades, site improvements, building demolitions, boiler replacements, building lighting upgrades, security enhancements, and other maintenance or building upgrade items.

PMR has most recently worked with the district on planning and implementing its $35 million bond program passed in 2019. The bond is focused on the construction of a new early childhood learning center as well as infrastructure, instructional updates, and improvements at different school facilities.

We’ve been helping school districts procure funding, plan for their capital needs, and implement successful projects for more than 25 years. Through our expertise, we give schools a positive return on their investment while making the capital planning process easier for district staff to handle. If you’d like to leverage our experience, reach out today to learn more about how we can help.

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