Case Studies

State of Maine Dept. of Education

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Client

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) collects and reports data on school
facilities ranging from a small one-room school building on an island to large
single and multi-story high performance buildings in the heart of diverse cities.
Statewide, a diverse portfolio of school buildings is managed by the School
Administrative Units (SAUs). To date, during an ongoing school administrative
reorganization, there are 179 School Administrative Units (SAUs) and 652 public
schools in the state.

With students achieving high scores nationally in subjects including mathematics,
science and reading, the Maine Department of Education (DOE) is dedicated to
continuing its success in providing a high standard of education to all students.
That high standard of education includes setting standards for school facilities.

Challenge

To be eligible for funding, SAUs needed to meet standards which included regular updating of campus and building descriptions, archiving of resolutions to deficiencies, and updating of cost models and systems conditions. A commitment was also made for the Maine DOE to engage in exploring ways to improve procedures and processes for capital asset management and facilities maintenance in general.

In short, the Maine DOE sought to establish a standard facility condition
assessment process in order to calculate maintenance costs, forecast future capital
renewal costs, and maintain facility data. In addition, the Maine DOE was
looking for a way to assess energy usage and adoption of green products and
methods.

Solution

The Maine DOE distributed web-based facility self-assessment software, VFA.auditor, statewide to all SAUs. A simplified portal and training were provided through VFA Software Services and Consulting. The portal provided summary graphic information that is easy to interpret. The training helped school personnel understand the assessment methodology, lay out a standard means of collecting building data used to populate the VFA.facility database, and see how the data is used to present information for decision-making. “VFA provided me with a huge resource of reports and data for use in making a case with our School Board Facilities Committee to request needed building maintenance funding,” said Andrew Madura, Director of Transportation, Facilities & Food Services, Maine School Administrative District (MSAD) #61.

The Maine DOE also worked with VFA Software Services and Consulting to
develop a custom survey for green/energy assessment. Using custom forms
embedded in a VFA.auditor survey, SAUs can now collect data on electricity,
water, and natural gas costs and usage, as well as assess the use of green building
and cleaning products.

Results

The Maine DOE statewide facilities data collection and updates have been
improved and simplified by using VFA.auditor. The Maine DOE estimates that
updating their facility database takes a quarter of the time when using VFA.
auditor and does so at 20 perecent of the previous cost. The new automatic
data updates will help SAUs more easily work with facilities data to complete
their capital improvement plans as required by state statutes. The updates also
generate reports which can be used for schools to request and secure funding.
“I used VFA software to generate reports which demonstrated to the School
Board the potential exponential growth of deferred maintenance costs over time.
That resulted in a stronger commitment to funding our maintenance and capital
improvement programs,” stated David Powers, Director of Maintenance and
Transportation, Maine School Administrative District #72 and President of the
Maine Educational Plant Maintenance Association.

VFA.auditor provides a tool that can be used by new and occasional users while
VFA.facility provides a tool that can be used by advanced users. The combination
of software helped the Maine DOE provide a statewide school facilities
management system. It is used to assess the overall condition of each building,
determine repairs and replacement, and forecast financial needs. Statewide, the
SAUs continue to attend training and enter building data. At this time data has
been entered for approximately 65% of the SAUs.

To cost-effectively meet the capital improvement needs of public schools over the
decades, the Maine DOE needed software suitable for a diverse range and level
of users who can catalogue and update data on buildings ranging from historic to
modern. The combination of VFA.auditor with VFA.facility provides flexibility
for schools to leverage resources. The software continues to help move a large
complex statewide facilities data collection conversion to the next level.

Contact us to learn more about VFA.



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