What is a swing space? How will it benefit the Brentwood modernization project?
A swing space is an interim facility that temporarily houses some or all of a campus during the construction of a modernized school.
Because of safety concerns on the school site during construction planning and the size of the Brentwood student population, it has become clear that it is in the best interest of the campus community to use a swing space.
By moving the campus to an off-site swing space during construction, the new school can be built in approximately half the time (i.e., anticipated 14 months of construction vs. 28 months), while providing a safer, less disruptive environment for students, families, faculty, staff and the neighborhood residents.
Why wasn’t the need for a swing space determined earlier in the modernization process?
AISD’s goal for all modernization projects is to keep the campus community on-site whenever possible and that was the initial plan for Brentwood. However, several constraints were unknown during the planning process. These include:
– How the recently modified regulatory floodplain affects available space for portables on the Brentwood site;
– Location and quantity of stormwater detention that would be required during construction;
– City requirements for parking during construction;
– Extra fire lane access areas that would be necessary during construction; and
– Permitting challenges during construction phasing.
How and when was the decision made to use a swing space?
In early 2019, AISD Construction Management hired VLK Architects and Bartlett Cocke General Contractors to design and build the modernized Brentwood Elementary School. After many months of design development, permitting and careful study of the construction phasing process, it became apparent that there was not a safe, reasonable way to keep the Brentwood Elementary School community on-site during construction.
At the beginning of the 2019–20 school year, district leadership worked closely with the project team and campus leaders to determine the feasibility of staying on-site during construction. Once it became clear that a swing space was the safest choice for the project, district and campus leadership worked together to determine campus needs and priorities, which included keeping the campus together and as close as possible to the Brentwood neighborhood.
When is the deadline for making a decision about the swing space? Who is responsible for making the decision?
The deadline to make a final decision is early February and will be made by AISD Superintendent Paul Cruz. His decision will be informed by a recommendation from AISD staff.
Does the swing space decision require AISD board approval? Will it be announced at a board meeting?
No, the swing space decision will be made by AISD Superintendent Paul Cruz. The decision will be shared with the community in a written correspondence following a community meeting on Feb. 4 from 5:30–7:30 p.m. at Brentwood Elementary School.
Will families be able to attend the meeting when the decision is announced?
Staff will walk through their recommendation for swing space at the Feb. 4 community meeting and hear additional feedback. Based on that meeting, a final recommendation will be made to Dr. Cruz. His decision is expected to be announced by Feb. 7.
What was the swing space decision-making process?
Since September, when the site constraints were identified, the district has worked to evaluate potential swing spaces, presenting an initial recommendation to the community in November. Based on community input, the district formed a subcommittee, held more community meetings and collected feedback through emails, phone calls and conversations with the subcommittee. The district then worked to vet new options and extended the decision-making timeline to February 2020.
Why can’t we delay the decision-making process?
The voter-approved 2017 Bond Program includes a full modernization for Brentwood Elementary School, with a budget of $35,764,000. Because of inflation and escalating construction costs, further delay was not possible because it would extend the construction timeline and divert resources away from the overall project, which is meant to deliver 21st-century learning spaces to all current and future students.
What is the necessary criteria for a swing space?
For a swing space to be viable, there must be 42 classrooms (each measuring 800 square-feet for Pre-K through first grade and 700 square feet for second through fifth grade), a gym, a cafeteria, an administration area, a library, sufficient parking, a pickup and dropoff loop/drive and a play field/playscape.
Additionally, safety and security requirements include district-approved cameras, secure fencing with controlled access and secure access to the Greater Austin Area Telecommunications Network.
What AISD Facilities are being considered for the Brentwood swing space?
Based on feedback from the community, AISD committed to exploring additional swing space options. Throughout December and January, the district narrowed down that list to four possible options:
– Brentwood Park (the current 100 wing and gym would be used, in addition to portables placed at Brentwood Park)
– Burnet Middle School (all Brentwood students would be housed in portables)
– Dobie Pre-K Center (all Brentwood students would be housed in portables)
– Webb Middle School (all Brentwood students would be housed in portables)
How long will the construction take and when will the Brentwood Elementary School community be able to move into the modernized facility?
With an off-site swing space, it is anticipated that construction will take 14 months, once the general contractor can take control of the site. The new, fully modernized Brentwood campus is expected to open in spring 2022.
What is AISD doing to ensure student safety at an all-portable campus? What safety standards/requirements must be followed?
Each campus works with the AISD Life Safety Department to ensure that all our students and staff work and learn in a safe and secure environment. AISD follows Texas Education Agency safety standards, as well as best practices, at each of our campuses. Additionally, campus staff are trained in safety and emergency procedures.
Have other Austin ISD schools used a swing space?
Yes. The district has experienced swinging entire school campuses prior to and during the current bond program. Elementary schools that have undergone swing space moves include T.A. Brown, Doss, Norman, Sanchez and Webb elementary schools.
Is there a cost associated with using a swing space?
Yes. Costs include acquiring additional portables, fencing and other site work necessary to ready a space and make it usable for the Brentwood community. However, some of these costs were already included in the budget to account for the original construction phasing plan. If extra funds are required, they will come out of the 2017 Bond Program’s contingency funds.
Will bell schedules be altered at the swing space?
Depending on which space is selected, the district will consider adjusting the bell schedule to accommodate staff, students and families.
Will AISD provide transportation for students attending a swing space?
Yes. Students who attend Brentwood will have the option to ride the bus. All routes will be finalized in summer 2020. Per AISD policy, students who live 2 miles or more away from campus, or less than 2 miles away but with a hazardous route, are automatically scheduled for transportation. Families are asked to please confirm that the district has the student’s correct primary address and contact information.
Families are also encouraged to use the “Where’s the Bus App” on their smartphone to track buses with live GPS. This app is available for eligible riders. Instructions are on the district’s website.
Will Brentwood transfer students have access to transportation at a swing space?
Per district policy, transfer students are not provided transportation. However, there will be several routes created for this campus and children may ride on any route as long as there is space available on the bus. If a bus were to become overcrowded, non-eligible students would no longer be able to ride that bus.
What will happen to Brentwood’s after-school programs?
There will be after-school programs available at the swing space. Conversations with after-school program partners will need to take place to determine which ones will be available at the temporary campus. On other projects where a swing space was used, the district worked with community partners to provide space for their operations.
The district will also look into late buses for those attending after-school programs, and we will work with the community as these decisions are being made.
Will there be play areas at the swing space?
Whatever swing space is used will have appropriate play areas for students. After a decision is made, a transition committee will be assembled and will work through the necessary details.
How will items from the current campus be moved to the swing space?
AISD will contract professional movers to relocate all items. Boxes and labels will be provided for teachers and staff to pack all classroom materials.
A similar protocol for moving items would have taken place even if the school were able to use the original construction phasing plan. With the swing space, items will only need to be moved twice (off-site, then back into the modernized campus) rather than moving multiple times.
Site-Specific Questions: Dobie Pre-K
Where is Dobie Pre-K and when would the Brentwood campus move?
Dobie Pre-K Center is one of the four options being considered for the Brentwood swing space. Starting at the beginning of the 2020–21 school year, Brentwood students could be located in the portables that formerly housed Dobie Pre-K Center, which is directly adjacent to Dobie Middle School at 1200 E. Rundberg Lane, Austin, TX 78753.
The swing space would include the 20 existing portables remaining from the Dobie Pre-K Center and approximately four to eight additional portables. Fencing would also be modified to unify the site, which would include the portables as well as adjacent playfields, in a fully secure, enclosed perimeter.
Would Brentwood students share spaces with Dobie students?
No. Brentwood and Dobie would operate as two separate campuses. Brentwood would be fully fenced and secured to enhance separation between the campuses. This is true for any of the off-site swing spaces being considered.
How will drop off and pickup work at the Dobie Pre-K swing space?
Families would pick up and drop off students on the north side of the site along Tartan Lane and immediately adjacent to a secure entrance into the campus. School bus drop off and pickup will take place within the secure perimeter of the campus.
Will the community have an opportunity to tour the space before moving into the swing space?
Yes. If Brentwood were to temporarily move to Dobie Pre-K, there would be opportunities for the community to visit the space.
Will Brentwood have access to its own cafeteria, gym and library?
Yes. There will be a cafeteria, gym and library within the temporary campus. The spaces will be located in portables that are specifically designed to accommodate these activities.
Will there be a playground and outdoor space for my student to use?
Yes. Students will have access to secure play areas, including playground equipment, an open play field and a covered hardtop area.
If the district moves forward with a portable village at Dobie Pre-K Center for Brentwood’s swing space, what other AISD resources will the campus be able to access?
The Dobie Pre-K site is immediately adjacent to Dobie Middle School, which will serve as a resource for Brentwood Elementary School to support food services and Brentwood campus performances, and which would provide shelter in the event of extreme weather.
Is the Dobie Pre-K Center annex available as a brick-and-mortar space? Could students fit into the annex instead of being in portables?
The district is continuing to explore multiple swing space options and what those look like. We have not determined if Brentwood would be able to use the Dobie annex, but Brentwood students and staff would have access to the Dobie Middle School building in the event of an emergency.
Will there be access for families during the school day at Dobie Pre-K?
Yes. Once a swing space is selected, the Transition Planning Team will work to clarify any additional details related to the site access.
Site-Specific Questions: Brentwood Park
Has AISD applied for a Temporary Occupancy Permit to use Brentwood Park?
The district is working with City of Austin staff to determine what steps would need to be followed to use Brentwood Park as a temporary swing space.
How many portables would be needed to keep the campus together at Brentwood?
The district has determined that keeping students on-site at Brentwood during construction is not a safe, reasonable option. One option the district is considering is keeping the 100 wing and gym and placing portables on Brentwood Park to house the rest of the campus, that option would require about 20 portables.
If Brentwood Park is used as a swing space, what will happen to it once construction is completed?
If AISD decides to use Brentwood Park as a swing space, it would need to be restored to its original state when the new school opens. That restoration cost would come out of the modernization budget.
Could the new Brentwood campus be built on Brentwood Park and could the previous Brentwood campus be turned into a new Brentwood Park?
This option is not feasible for several reasons, including: city charter requirements and land code regulations, which would require a general election and introduces significant risk to the project; increased construction costs, because the entire school would be all-new construction and would require all-new utilities to be installed, as well as costs associated with the development of a replacement park; and, significant schedule delays and risks.
Why doesn’t AISD invest in a common swing space for schools undergoing modernization?
AISD’s goal for all modernization projects is to keep the campus on-site whenever possible. Dobie Pre-K is an approved AISD facility that can accommodate the entire Brentwood campus and any other future school communities with a similar population that may need a swing space.
What capacity is the new Brentwood campus being built for and why?
The Modernized Brentwood ES is being built to a capacity of 696, per the Board Approved 2017 Facility Master Plan. This capacity was set based on most recent demographics, but the design is also intended to be flexible, with the ability to accommodate additional students overtime.
Additional studio space is being built to accommodate the district-wide auditory impairment program that is currently housed at Brentwood, which could potentially be relocated to another facility at some point in the future. The AI studios will be the same size as the standard studios and can easily be transitioned to accommodate future campus growth, if needed.
Has the district already received contractor bids for the Brentwood modernization project?
The General Contractor (Bartlett Cocke) is under contract and provides market validated cost estimates at each design deliverable phase. Market bids (i.e. “hard bids”) from trades and subcontractors will not be solicited until closer to design completion, which is anticipated to be in Spring 2020.
What are the general logistics for fifth graders if Lamar Middle School is used as a swing space?
The district is no longer considering using Lamar Middle School as a possible swing space solution because it does not accommodate the entire Brentwood population. The four options still under consideration will be able to keep the entire campus together.
Will the $32 million budget allocated for the Brentwood modernization project generate interest if construction is delayed?
No, the $32 million budget for the project does not generate interest over time, but because of ongoing inflation and escalating construction costs in the region, it is not in the interest of the district or the school community to delay the project any further.
Is the district considering potential cost escalation or labor shortages during a delayed construction timeline?
Yes, this is why the district is unable to further delay the project or the decision-making process.
Are there documents of the original intention for Brentwood during the bond planning process?
Is the district concerned about Brentwood enrollment going down from parents looking to send their students to other schools?
The district has an open transfer policy and encourages families to pursue the right campus for their students. If enrollment declines significantly, it will affect the number of teachers and staff a campus can retain.
If enrollment declines at Brentwood, will the district explore swing spaces with a smaller capacity than the current 600-student capacity needed?
It is not possible to accurately predict future enrollment at this time, therefore the district can only explore swing spaces that safely accommodate the entire Brentwood population.
Will Brentwood Elementary families receive priority transfers if they want to send their child(ren) to another school in the district?
No, Brentwood families will be eligible to apply for a transfer at the same time as all other AISD families.
I still have questions about the Brentwood modernization project. Where should I direct those questions?
Please reach out to the bond communications team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 512-414-9595 with questions. For more information on the 2017 Bond Program, visit www.AISDFuture.com