Lansing School District takes steps to evaluate property

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BY: AMANDA CHODNICKI

LANSING STAR STAFF WRITER

LANSING- The Lansing School District received a detailed report from consultants Thursday about managing their property, including schools, vacant buildings and land.

“We really need to optimize the use of our buildings,” Lansing Board of Education President Guillermo López said. “We need to utilize our current buildings the way they are and some of them just aren’t at the level that they should be.”

Jones Lang LaSalle, a firm that helps government, schools and businesses form real estate strategies, said they would, help take the Lansing School District to the next level.

“We have a strategic real estate master plan that includes a facility assessment to get an understanding at where the buildings are at and bring them up to full value,” said Jennifer Hill, managing director at Jones Lang Screen shot 2013-10-16 at 2.11.48 PMLaSalle. “We will also help the district prioritize how they are spending money.”

Hill said that they plan on using a “holistic” and “robust” approach that incorporates cost savings and better efficiencies.

Hill said another element is having a safe and secure environment for learning.

“If you’re cold, it’s probably difficult to learn,” Hill said. “Costing is an element, but it’s not the sole focus. Creating a safer and more comfortable environment for students is important to facilitate the learning taking place in these buildings.”

Task force comes into play

The reports Jones Lang LaSalle assembled will be sent to the school district’s facilities task force. The task force will  recommend the best use of the district’s buildings and land.

The consultants advised the district to rank the importance of all of the projects in the order that they think they should be done.

They also stressed the importance of creating a new high school to benefit the district and selling or making use of property that does not currently benefit the district. This includes the 90 acres of vacant land on State Road.

Many of the board members said they are ready to put the plan into action and take this next step in the right direction.

“We’re finally getting to a point where we were elected to make decisions,” said Lansing Board of Education Vice President Nicole Armbruster said. “Let’s make them.”

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