Building consensus for a $186 million school construction program

Groton School Facilities Master Plan

Location

Connecticut, USA

Setting the stage

Groton, a diverse coastal community of 40,000 residents, is home to a US Naval Base, Electric Boat, Pfizer, and the village of Mystic, a tourist destination. The School Facility Task Force, established in 2013, was faced with continued declining enrolment, diversity issues, ageing facilities, and a renaissance of magnet schools regionally. The community was fatigued by two failed referenda. The Task Force’s goal was to modernise and reposition community schools for the next generation and boost the attractiveness of the community to new residents while improving learning environments.

A Community driven process

We worked with the Task Force to create a community-supported comprehensive master plan to modernise facilities, streamline operations, and address parity and equity across the community. We held workshops and meetings, conducted resident surveys, and generated promotional materials. We also provided technical analysis in school facility planning and worked with an architect to develop a building programme that aimed to shrink the district’s portfolio of buildings to match the enrolment while expanding educational opportunities for all the children of Groton. The programme respected the town’s desire for neighbourhood schools while also providing magnet school opportunities and unified children at a middle school, which had been historically divided into two schools.

The final vote

After a three-year process, the community voted and approved Groton 2020, which creates a consolidated middle school and renovates the former middle schools into two intra-district magnet elementary schools. The process was geared at overcoming challenges to provide parity and equal opportunity for all students while streamlining the system to align with shrinking budgets and state aid to best ensure the town is headed in right direction.

Client reference

“Thanks to the expert advice and guidance of Milone & MacBroom, Groton Public Schools was able to develop a comprehensive school construction plan that was recently approved at referendum. Throughout the planning process, the team shared invaluable knowledge and experience with the district staff. I would strongly encourage any school system considering a planning process to request assistance from the Milone & MacBroom team; our district benefited enormously from their expertise.” - Michael H. Graner, Ph.D, Superintendent of Groton Public Schools