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A situation audit identifies your actual starting point. It clarifies real needs while eliminating biases and preconceptions. In this step, you'll learn how school planning involves a broad understanding of all the forces affecting enrollment over long periods of time. While contemplating the plethora of variables that affect sound, long-term capacity planning, you'll learn how to balance conflicting interests to achieve an optimum operation.
As Abraham Lincoln understood, “If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could better judge what to do, and how to do it.” Absolutely! But this logical and basic approach to any strategic planning process is not as straightforward as it may seem.
Step one in the Capital Facility Planning Process™ (CFPP)—the Situation Audit—is the mechanism through which this task is accomplished. Specifically, the Situation Audit guides you through an examination of the current state of your school system in relation to its facility utilization. Answering the question, “Where are we and how did we get here?” is a critical component of this initial step that is often overlooked or inadequately addressed.
Chapter 1 of my book, The Essential Guide to School Facility Planning, guides you through the Situation Audit including:
• An assessment that defines your current situation
• An analysis of events and conditions that got you there
• Consideration of relevant political decisions and their level of acceptance within the community
• Economic conditions and future prospects for employment
• Insights about future direction, as stipulated by the school district’s mission, visions and goals
Understanding all you’re faced with day in and out, I’ve fine-tuned this proven process to make it efficient, yet thorough. Completing the Situation Audit will not only instill confidence in your team about the direction in which you’re moving but will provide you with the data you need to put things in perspective for decision makers, the community and potential investors. And I’ll continue to lend a hand for the duration of your facility planning journey.
Read a real-world Situation Audit case study.