GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (GRPS) — The Grand Rapids Board of Education voted unanimously Monday night on the framework for the district’s Facilities Master Plan.

While the vote marks a significant milestone in the process, the Facilities Master Plan is not complete. In 2023, the district will continue with the next phase of the process and decide on key details for the plan.

The Board approved seven recommendations as part of the framework that sets out clear goals for the Facilities Master Plan. Those goals include increasing the utilization of GRPS school buildings across the district to a 75% average over the course of the next several years.

That will be accomplished through repurposing some current school space to meet community needs, consolidating some programs, and enhancing the GRPS learning experience to improve recruitment and retention of scholars.

“The scholars of Grand Rapids Public Schools won today — not only those we serve now but those we will serve in the future,” Grand Rapids Public Schools Superintendent Leadriane Roby, Ph.D. said after the vote. “This is just the beginning. We are not done. We will be engaging with our community a lot more in 2023 and we are excited to hear from those we serve as we make these major decisions moving forward.”

The seven recommendations approved by the board:

  1. Ensure sustainability and align with the Strategic Plan by aiming for average 75% utilization across the district, with an emphasis on elementary and middle school grade levels by 2032.
  2. Enrollments and utilization rates are to be assessed annually to ensure the Facilities Master Plan, Strategic Plan, and Academic Plan implementations are improving measurable strategic outcomes.
  3. Relocation of scholars and staff will be implemented to preserve programs, prioritize equitable access, and improve the learning environments of our schools.
  4. Be responsive and transparent with our community by producing a Facilities Master Plan calendar that includes continual stakeholder engagement and communication milestones on a regular basis.
  5. Provide continuation of funding for the implementation of the Facilities Master Plan through a capital program initiated in November 2023.
  6. Use district assets for community benefit by seeking out partnership opportunities for vacated schools and sites once program replacements are identified. In these partnerships, GRPS would prioritize property ownership with future asset decisions.
  7. Reduce current operating costs and resource inefficiencies by leveling Kensington and reducing financial responsibility for Alexander during fiscal year 2023. The primary reduction strategy will be establishing an agreement that absolves the district of property maintenance costs but maintains property ownership with future asset decisions.