School Business Affairs February 2019

14 FEBRUARY 2019 | SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION Opening Buildings: A New and Improved Facility Use Program Allowing communities to rent district facilities generates income and strengthens community bonds. By Marvin Thomas-Anderson R evamping an already-existing facility usage program might sound exhausting or uninterest- ing to some but, it has been a positive experi- ence for Missouri’s Francis Howell School District and its Facilities Department. Initially, the board of education authorized the forma- tion of a task force to study efficiencies in the district’s current facility use system, including the possibility of utilizing an electronic scheduling system and restructur- ing the fee schedule. The task force began its work May 2017. The objec- tive was to use excess capacities to generate revenue for the district. An audit of the elementary and middle school gymnasiums was initiated to determine poten- tial revenue. This revenue less any additional expenses would be added to the district’s general fund. When the audit was complete, the task force determined that the project had a significant upside financially and that the district had plenty to offer its community through facility usage. The focus expanded from utilizing only elementary and middle school gym- nasiums to offering a wide variety of amenities, includ- ing high school facilities, cafeterias, auditoriums, lecture halls, classrooms, and performance field space. Francis Howell School District in Missouri did an extensive audit of district facilities to determine potential for increased revenue. PHOTOS COURTESY OF FRANCES HOWELL SCHOOL DISTRICT