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Infrastructure Planning Principles

  • Code: EA.BP
    Topic: Infrastructure Planning Principles
    Issue Date: 18/09/2013
    Effective Date: 19/09/2013
    Review Year: 2020

Purpose

To acknowledge the Board of Trustees’ responsibility and expectation for effective stewardship of the District’s infrastructure resources to deliver appropriate Kindergarten to Grade 12 education programming for the citizens of the City of Edmonton and establish a set of overarching infrastructure planning principles, to guide facility, capital, and student accommodation planning and operations in the District. 

These board approved Infrastructure Planning Principles will guide the actions of the Superintendent of Schools when administrating and forming places for safe, caring, healthy, respectful, diverse, inclusive and equitable learning; allocating financial resources; recommending priorities for capital funding; maintaining, building and closing or re-opening of schools; acquiring and disposing of land and buildings; and all other infrastructure decisions.

Definitions

Capital Projects are new school construction and school modernization projects identified in the District’s capital submission, which is approved annually by the Board of Trustees and submitted to Alberta Education for consideration.  For each project it approves, Alberta Education establishes the budget and funding. Any contract or scope of work changes that require funding additional to the Alberta Education established capital budget requires Ministerial approval. 

Community is a unique composition of people based on common interests, needs or geography. 

Deferred Maintenance is capital investment in facilities that has not yet been performed and is required to keep the asset in suitable operational condition. 

High Quality Learning Environments,from a facilities point of view, refers to the factors that impact student achievement, for example, thermal comfort, indoor air quality, lighting, acoustical control, appropriate space for program delivery, student gathering places, etc. 

Infrastructure consists of the basic facilities, services, and installations needed for the functioning of the District, for example, transportation services, communication systems, and schools and administrative buildings. 

Infrastructure Strategy is a strategic focus that guides future decision-making for the planning, locating, provision, use and maintenance of district facilities. 

Joint Use Agreement (Facilities and Land) are contracts between The Board of Trustees of Edmonton School District No.7, The Board of Trustees of Edmonton Catholic Separate School District No. 7, The Board of Trustees of the regional Authority of the Greater North Central Francophone Education Region No. 2 (Conseil Scolaire Centre-Nord) and the City of Edmonton supporting the sharing of publicly funded land and facilities to maximize benefits to students and citizens of the City of Edmonton.

Long-term Viability is based on both the costs to operate, maintain and renovate buildings and the ability for schools to maintain an enrolment within the educational program to provide a high quality learning environment for existing and future students.  

Partner refers to the City of Edmonton, Provincial and Federal Governments, school jurisdictions, for profit and not for profit agencies, and organizations compatible with the vision of the Edmonton Public School Board. 

School Closure is within the authority of the Board of Trustees as derived from the School Act and the Alberta Closure of Schools Regulation, and is defined as any of the following actions:

    • close a school permanently or for a specified period of time, or
    • close entirely three or more consecutive grades in a school, or  
    • transfer all students from one school building to one or more other school buildings on a permanent basis. 

Stakeholders are parents, students, staff, community members, partners, and government elected officials and staff. 

Student Accommodation Planning is governed by Board Policy HC.BP – Student Accommodation and refers to the assignment of a designated school for each student based on student residency and means that this designated school will be responsible for accommodating the student or ensuring the student’s placement elsewhere.    

Whole Child is an educational concept that refers to addressing the physical, psychological, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual needs of students.

Policy

The Board of Trustees is responsible for the stewardship of resources placed in its trust for public education service delivery to all resident students within the City of Edmonton.  The Board of Trustees acknowledges that infrastructure decisions under its jurisdiction must be in accordance with governing legislation and procedural requirements.  The Board of Trustees has the authority and the responsibility to make decisions regarding:

    • school site acquisition and disposal within the means available to it, which are key determinants in where public education service delivery will be situated within the District;
    • priorities for school modernization and building of new schools; and
    • the closure or re-opening of a school facility. 

The Board of Trustees believes that the District’s infrastructure decision-making should reflect an equitable approach to the provision of safe, high quality learning and working environments across the District; demonstrate sound planning practices; establish equitable priorities for construction, modernization and maintenance; disclose assumptions on which plans are based; employ a collaborative approach to planning and operation through the inclusion of community, external partnerships and multiple orders of government; employ traditional and creative approaches where appropriate; and ensure expenditures of capital funding demonstrate responsible stewardship of public resources.  

To achieve these objectives, the following Infrastructure Planning Principles, listed in alphabetical order, shall guide all infrastructure planning and operational decisions: 

  1. Accountability: Infrastructure decisions shall be transparent, evidence based and reflect meaningful engagement with stakeholders.
  2. Centres for Educational Excellence: Infrastructure assets shall serve as centres for educational excellence that meet the needs of district students, as well as their families and staff, where appropriate.
  3. Environmental Stewardship: All decisions relating to infrastructure management shall demonstrate a commitment to environmental conservation and conform to best practices in minimizing environmental impacts.
  4. Equitable Access: All students and staff shall have fair access to safe, welcoming, high quality learning and working environments that will increase their opportunities and decrease their vulnerabilities.
  5. Fiscal Responsibility: Decisions on infrastructure shall consider long-term needs and current realities, and reflect effective management of district resources.
  6. Service to Community: District infrastructure assets are public buildings intended to serve district students, families, and staff as well as the broader community where appropriate.   Capital investment shall consider the demographics, long-term plans, and needs of the community. 
  7. Supports for the Whole Child: Space shall be available to enable partnerships with shared responsibilities to provide integrated services that support district students. 

The Board of Trustees believes that implementation of the Infrastructure Planning Principles will enable the District to: 

  1. Achieve equity of educational programming through acknowledging that students and communities have different needs.
  2. Allow opportunities for long-term planning, operational efficiencies and coordinated services.
  3. Collaborate with other orders of government, school districts, and for profit and not for profit agencies to support students, children, families and communities.
  4. Determine the long-term viability of district assets and address the long-term deferred maintenance.
  5. Engage stakeholders early in ongoing discussions with the District, considering their perspectives, and working together to achieve positive change and outcomes that benefit students.
  6. Evaluate the unique needs of communities and determine the appropriate future use of assets.
  7. Maximize the use of space not required for educational purposes by providing opportunities for partnerships that support education, children or the community at no cost to the District.
  8. Minimize the District’s environmental footprint through proactive planning practices. 

The Board of Trustees reserves to itself the authority to name schools. In the naming of schools, preference shall be given to the names of persons who have made a valuable contribution to education and/or to the community at large.  

The Board of Trustees believes in the principles of the Joint Use Agreement (Facilities) which supports the sharing of publicly funded facilities to maximize benefits to students and citizens of the City of Edmonton.  In support of this belief, the Board of Trustees encourages the use of district buildings by the community provided there is no conflict with the District’s mandate to provide (K-12) education and the use shall be compatible with the Board of Trustees’ educational aims and objectives.   Surplus space may be utilized in operational and closed school buildings. 

The Board of Trustees believes that the preservation of buildings with significant historic value is important to the citizens of the City of Edmonton.  The Board of Trustees and will consider supporting an application to Alberta Community Development for the designation of a district building as a historic resource when doing so has no adverse impact on the provision of educational services within the building or elsewhere in the District. 

Expectations

  1. The Superintendent of Schools shall implement this policy through establishment of a comprehensive District Infrastructure Strategy, and appropriate administrative regulations, processes and assignment of responsibilities as required. 

  2. All facility, capital and student accommodation plans shall address the Infrastructure Planning Principles and Infrastructure Strategy.

  3. For each capital project submitted by the Board of Trustees and approved by Alberta Education, the Board of Trustees shall be kept informed of progress. 

  4. School Site Acquisition and Disposal
    1. School sites shall be acquired from the reserve land dedication provided under the Municipal Government Act, within the terms of the Joint Use Agreement with the City of Edmonton, or purchased using approved district Capital Reserve funding.
    2. The Board of Trustees authorizes the Superintendent of Schools to determine the need for, or the relinquishing of need for, school sites and land in new development areas where site lands have not yet been fully dedicated.
    3. The declaration of lands dedicated for district use at no cost to the District, as surplus to district need, shall require Board of Trustees approval.
    4. Each sale, transfer or exchange of land titled to the District shall require Board of Trustees approval.
    5. Where applicable, the sale of school sites shall be transacted with the terms of the Joint Use Agreement (Land) with the City of Edmonton.
  5. School Closure and Re-opening
    1. The Board of Trustees authorizes the Superintendent of Schools when in compliance with the Alberta Closure of Schools Regulation to:
      1. close or permanently relocate fewer than three consecutive grades in a school; or
      2. temporarily relocate any number of grades from one school to another.
    2. The Board of Trustees retains the authority to initiate a process for a school closure in accordance with the School Act and Alberta Closure of Schools Regulation.
    3. The Superintendent of Schools shall be responsible for recommending the closure or re-opening of a school to the Board of Trustees in accordance with the Infrastructure Planning Principles.
  6. Use of District Buildings
    1. Members of the community, excluding publicly-traded companies providing day care and early education, can access surplus space through the following methods:
      1. as a group represented by the City of Edmonton under the Joint Use Agreement: Facilities;
      2. as an occasional paid rental for groups not eligible under the Joint Use Agreement: Facilities;
      3. as a group with exclusive use of space as specified in a lease agreement;
      4. as a group with limited use of space as specified in a license agreement; or
      5. as a group with shared use of space who provide support services which directly benefit the students at the school through a specific agreement with the school.
    2. Those organizations leasing or licensing space must provide evidence of recognized, acceptable, social and ethical standards through policies, practices and procedures.
    3. Leases are intended to be at no cost to the District.  Information regarding leases in the District shall be provided to the Board of Trustees annually.
    4. Fees for paid rentals shall be determined annually by the Superintendent of Schools.

Accountability

Annually, the Board of Trustees approves the District’s Three Year Capital Plan and reviews the District’s Ten Year Facilities Plan, as required by the Government of Alberta.

References

AA.BP Stakeholder Relations
DEA.AR Transportation Services
DEA.BP Student Transportation
EECA.AR Identification of a Building as a Historic Resource
EF.AR Naming of Schools
EO.BP Environment
HC.BP Student Accommodation
IG.AR Community Use of District Buildings