The Division’s planning function assists school districts identify and quantify their facility needs. Many of these needs are listed as deficiencies (improvements to the facility required to bring the facility up to the current standards) “suitability” needs, required immediately to provide sufficient academic space for students currently enrolled and growth needs to meet projected enrollment increases. District planning is expressed in the district’s six year Master Plan. An important part of the district’s Master Plan should be planning for new buildings or system replacements. To assist public school districts in planning for future replacements, the 2004 Assessment also evaluated and noted life-cycle replacement intervals on building systems. Life-cycle is a planning tool to assist the public school districts in budgeting for major building system replacement and is based on the average expected life of a system. With proper preventative maintenance and care, many systems are in good working order beyond the life-cycle replacement date. On the other hand, poor preventative maintenance, vandalism, or acts of God can cause a system to fail before its expected life end. Life-cycle reports for each building can be found on the web tool on the Division’s website.
The Area Project Managers-Planning & Construction (APM-PC) provide training for superintendents and other school personnel on how to prepare the Master Plan and to keep school personnel apprised of any changes to the procedure. The APM-PCs also review the Academic Facilities Partnership project applications and calculate project costs using standardized cost factors. The planning function makes extensive use State Financial Participation using the Academic Facilities Wealth Index and of the Program of Requirements (POR) that defines the space requirements for new schools. The POR is contained in the Arkansas School Facilities Manual.