School Siting & Land Use Study
Client: Bellingham Public Schools
Location: Bellingham, Washington
Student enrollment projections help identify the education needs of our communities. They aid in long-range planning, help predict building and capital needs, allow for informed budgeting and resource allocation, and assist in garnering support for funding. While enrollment forecasts go a long way in meeting an administrator’s planning needs, a location based assessment of present and future population patterns allows educators to answer the “WHERE” question. By applying geographic and data analysis tools, school districts can develop a better understanding of future student population distributions and can be better prepared for them.
“FLO has been instrumental in helping our District understand not only how many students we can expect to have in the future, but more importantly, where we can expect these students to likely reside in our District. Their work has allowed us to make more informed decisions regarding our facility needs.”
– Ron Cowan, Assistant Superintendent, Bellingham Public Schools
Bellingham Public Schools (BPS) are experiencing growth and wanted to assess its 10-year student enrollment projections within the geographic context of the district’s future land use to estimate future changes in attendance. The goal of the land use analysis was to facilitate the district’s planning process by providing an understanding of how future land use trends were likely to affect the distribution of students across the district.
The land use analysis identified the areas with the highest potential growth and illustrated that BPS was in need of identifying potential sites for new schools to supplement their existing portfolio. Using information such as zoning, land tract size, contiguous ownership, topography, and sensitive features we were able narrow down a large number of potential sites to just those meeting their specific criteria. We then added additional descriptive information about these potential sites, allowing BPS to quickly compare and contrast the various options in an interactive web-based map.