August Message from Deb
August 3, 2016
Fireflies and Facilities
This is the summer for the Fireflies! During the week of August 8, the Fireflies classroom will undergo a much needed overhaul that will include the installation of new flooring, counter tops, and cabinets, and a fresh coat of paint. The Peanuts room (next door to the Fireflies) went through a similar classroom renovation project last December. Take a peek inside that room to get an idea of what is coming for the Fireflies.
We all love PIC for so many of its stand-out characteristics, ranging from our outstanding teachers and their relationships with the families and children, to our commitment to play, from our wonderful outside spaces in the midst of our urban neighborhood, to the diversity of our families that represents the world we live in.
Yet amidst the love, we hear loud and clear (on our annual family feedback surveys) that we need to focus on facilities improvements. We all appreciate the uniqueness of our buildings and spaces, yet we want them renovated and updated to accommodate the current needs of teachers, children and their families.
Continually funding needed improvements is a challenge. Several years ago, PIC’s Board of Directors created a Systems Replacement Plan (SRP) that serves as our guide to addressing the facility needs, spread out over a 15-year period. These needs range from fairly small expenditures such as replacing air conditioners and lighting fixtures, to larger projects such as renovations to classrooms and shared spaces, such as our Small and Big Gyms. While some of our projects are the responsibility of our landlord (the University of Pennsylvania), others are solely the responsibility of PIC.
Facility improvement projects are funded through a separate SRP account, as opposed to our annual operating budget. During the last few years, we have been able to complete some extraordinary projects, such as our Nature Playground, renovation of the Sunshines, Peanuts (and now Fireflies) classrooms, the Tot Lot, a major overhaul of the Stucco building for school-age programs, painting the Rainbows, Bumblebees, Caterpillar and Wild Things rooms, and the installation of new security cameras. In the past years, we were fortunate to receive generous individual gifts and grants to enable this work.
The funds in this account must be continually replenished. This past year our Finance Committee explored the idea of a dedicated Facilities Fund to help finance these facilities improvements and the PIC Board approved their recommendation for our 2016-17 budget. PIC families will see a facilities fee of $100 for the year on their September invoice, with a discounted rate applied to families on subsidy. This fee will provide a steady level of revenue to help us better plan for future projects. The Board’s Building and Grounds Committee regularly reviews the SRP and helps prioritize upcoming projects.
We are always in need of people with expertise in design, architecture, and/or construction, or simply who have an interest in this area and would like to be part of this ongoing discussion. I invite you to join the committee in its important work. Please contact me at email@example.com.
We greatly look forward to continuing our work in all the areas that PIC excels, and are committed to working hard to create improved spaces.