Planning for Tomorrow’s Students with a Land Use Study & School Siting Portfolio

Client: Bellingham Public Schools

Location: Bellingham, Washington

Bellingham Public Schools (BPS) knew their district was growing and was likely to continue to do so, based on 10-year student enrollment projections. But where in the district would these students live and how would the increase impact enrollment at each school in the coming years?

To answer these questions, we took a look at how future land use would impact the distribution of students, and therefore attendance at various schools. We paired the existing district-wide 10-year enrollment projections with a land use analysis, which provided insight into where growth was likely to occur, and determined how many students were likely to live in those areas.

The analysis illustrated that BPS would likely need to build a new school to accommodate the growing student population. The question then became, where were potential properties located that would meet the future needs of the District?

Using information such as zoning, land tract size and utilization, proximity to major roads and speed information, topography, and sensitive areas we narrowed down a large number of sites to just those meeting the District’s specific criteria for parts of the district that are predicted to grow. An interactive web map allowed BPS to quickly view and compare the various options as they planned for their future capital facility needs.

“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


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Tyler Vick

Managing Director

(503) 501-5232

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