Frequently Asked Questions
Q. When was the SFC established?
The School Facilities Commission (SFC) was established by the Wyoming Legislature in 2002 to ensure adequate and equitable school facilities throughout the state. Click here for more information about the SFC.
Q. How often does the SFC meet?
The Commission currently meets on a bi-monthly basis, with meetings held over a two-day period. A work session is typically held on the first day, followed by a business meeting on the second day. Further details about Commission meetings can be found here.
Q. How do I submit agenda items for SFC consideration?
Click here for detailed instructions on how to submit agenda items.
Q. When was the SFD created?
The School Facilities Division (SFD) was originally established as part of the SFC in 2002, but became a separate agency in 2011 when the Legislature enacted Senate File 0110. Then, upon the passage of Senate File 0092 in 2016, SFD became a division of the State Construction Department. Click here for more SFD history.
Q. What is the difference between the SFC and SFD?
The School Facilities Commission (SFC) establishes the policies and processes for measuring facilities conditions and ensuring that school facilities are adequate, as well as for how school districts implement facilities planning.
The School Facilities Division (SFD) supports school districts by managing a facilities information system, helping them create facility plans, reviewing and approving major and minor capital projects, and distributing state funds for approved facilities projects.
Q. What is the Select Committee on School Facilities?
The Select Committee is the legislative body that oversees the work of the SFC and SFD. It consists of five members from the Wyoming Senate and five from the House of Representatives. Click here for more information about the Select Committee.
Q. How many school districts make up the Wyoming educational system?
Wyoming is home to 48 school districts which currently serve over 90,000 students in grades K through 12. Click here for more information on Wyoming school districts.
Q. What is 16:1?
Wyoming Statute 21-13-307(a)(iv) requires public schools to maintain a student-to-teacher ratio of 16 to 1 in grades K-3.
Q. What is the "Basket of Goods"?
The “Basket of Goods” refers to the educational programs that each school district is required to provide under Wyoming Statute 21-9-101. These include:
Q. What is AiM?
AiM is a web-based Facilities Management Software that the SFD and districts use to manage appropriations and expenditures related to school construction and major maintenance projects. It is also used to maintain a statewide database on school capacity and building conditions. Click here for more information on AiM.
Q. Where can I find the SFC's most recent design guidelines?
Click the links below to access the most recent design guidelines:
Q. How do I contact the SFD?
Click here for the SFD's contact information.
Assessment & Methodology Questions
Q. What is the FCI?
FCI is an acronym for Facility Condition Index. The FCI is a tool used to assess the physical condition of educational, administrative, and transportation buildings across the state.
The FCI analyzes the condition of 53 building components – such as flooring, roofing, interior/exterior walls, windows, electrical systems, HVAC, etc. – to determines an overall condition score for each building.
After being scored, buildings are ranked on a Needs Index list which identifies the buildings that are most in need of renovation or replacement. This list is then presented to the SFC and Select Committee for review, and later used to formulate capital budget requests.
For more information on the FCI, click here to review the SFD's Facility Condition Assessment report prepared for the Select Committee.
Q. What is the FCNI?
The Facility Condition Needs Index (FCNI) evaluates a facility's overall functionality by assessing such aspects as air quality, illumination (lighting), and technology readiness. Functionality is not a determining factor in the prioritization process, but is addressed to varying degrees when condition and capacity driven projects are funded.
For more information on the FCNI, click here to review the SFD's Facility Condition Assessment report prepared for the Select Committee.
Q. What is the Condition Needs Index?
The Condition Needs Index is a tool used to report the condition of each school district’s educational, administrative, and transportation buildings.
The buildings are ranked by FCI score, which is determined by analyzing the condition of numerous internal and external building components (flooring, roofing, walls, foundation, plumbing, HVAC system, etc.). Buildings with a higher FCI score rank higher on the list, as these are the most in need of renovation or replacement. Click here for the SFC/SFD Condition Needs Indices.
Q. How does the SFC/SFD determine how much square footage a school should have?
The factor most affecting a facility’s total square footage is capacity – the amount of space needed to accommodate a certain number of students.
The SFC/SFD currently uses an Instructional-Area Methodology in determining the capacity of an educational facility. The capacity is driven by the number of teaching/instructional spaces where children are educated, multiplied by the number of students per teacher (student/teacher ratio).
Capacity is also affected by the space needed for students with special needs, projected enrollment, as well as a building’s utilization factor, which evaluates a facility’s functional capacity (what percentage of the facility will be used as teaching space).
Once the capacity is established, a SFC-approved square footage calculator is used to determine the total size of the facility. For more information, click here to access the SFD’s Capacity Analysis Study.
Q. What is the SFC's allowable square footage per student?
Under Wyoming statute, the allowable square footage per student varies depending on grade level. Below is the current square footage being used by the SFC/SFD:
Click here to download the SFC/SFD Square Foot Calculator.
Q. What methodology does the SFD use to determine enrollment projections?
As adopted by the School Facilities Commission and Select Committee, student enrollment projections shall be calculated using a cohort projection methodology as defined below:
More information on enrollment projections can be found by clicking here.
Planning, Procurement & Project Questions
Q. What is facility planning?
The purpose of facility planning is to outline the ways each district intends to address/remedy the facility needs of the educational, administrative, and transportation buildings within its jurisdiction. Under SFC Rules and Regulations, facility plans are required to detail any planned major maintenance, facility modifications (including grade configurations), justifications for new or replacement facilities, land acquisitions, and an estimated cost for all remedies being proposed in the plan. Click here for more information on facility planning.
Q. What is a design charrette?
Sometimes referred to as visioning workshops, a design charrette is a collaborative process where participants work in a focused and sustained effort to develop a feasible building design that meets the educational goals of the school district. The process involves gathering ideas and input from multiple stakeholders in an effort to quickly advance the design process, including:
Participants may involve district superintendents, school board members, students, parents, teachers, community representatives, architects, consultants, and SFD staff.
The program plan, educational specifications document, and design charrette process often require the support of the architect or other consultant. It includes participation by the SFD staff and educational and/or community stakeholders. This information is used by the architect as a basis for the design of the facility.
The purpose of this process is to understand and include current and future expectations of educational delivery within the community and the functional relationships within the anticipated facility. In addition, site analysis and master site planning may also start at this time to identify site limitations and requirements.
Q. What are educational specifications?
This document is the responsibility of the district to prepare, sometimes with the assistance of an advisory committee. It explains and illustrates such information as the district’s educational philosophy, strategies, goals, staffing level, and needs.
Q. What is Value Engineering?
Value engineering (VE) is an essential and common part of building design. In value engineering, the architect develops the “least cost” method or building systems that fit desired function and performance for the school building. The subsequent building design incorporates VE recommendations. The State has established regulatory requirements that include VE in the design process. Available budgets, initial capitalization, and long term operations and maintenance costs are considered in this process.
In addition, the VE process helps to provide optimal and equitable educational facilities. VE processes are not intended to weaken building design guidelines or eliminate design features. In some cases, VE processes add essential building systems, require the addition of educational space, and help reduce maintenance and other long term costs. Design guidelines typically provide flexibility, and in most cases provide for a range of design responses so that buildings are not insufficient or excessive in their design. VE analysis carefully considers overly costly design and provides alternatives.
The VE process establishes priorities to help the school construction project stay within budget. With established state budgets for the project, maximum allowable building space standards and changing market conditions, there have been cases where alternative designs are necessary to meet the budget. These are often difficult decisions. The VE consultant, architects, school district staff and SFD work together as a team to identify those designs that can be modified without a major change in building function or performance.
The VE teams regularly participate in multiple VE reviews which generally correspond with the progression of the design process. Designs do not proceed from phase to phase, until VE changes are incorporated or become a project “enhancement.” Once ready to proceed through the design (including budget compliance), SFD will issue a Notice to Proceed to the next phase of design. VE reviews typically occur at the 10% and 35% design phases but may continue throughout the project (60%, 95%, etc.), depending on the size and nature of the project. VE reviews typically include:
Q. What is a delivery method?
A construction delivery method is the manner in which a project will be designed and constructed. Design-Bid-Build, Design-Build, Construction Manager Agent (CMA), and Construction Manager At Risk (CMAR) are the methods currently utilized in Wyoming. Click here for more information on construction delivery methods.
Q. What is a capital construction project?
Capital construction projects are any renovation, construction, replacement, repair or other improvement of or to any school building or facility which is designed to bring the building or facility to the statewide building adequacy standards (or guidelines). These projects are identified in the SFC/SFD Budget Request, have associated budget estimates, and are ultimately approved by the legislature.
Q. How do capital construction projects get funded?
School construction projects are funded through appropriations made by the state Legislature to provide the most cost-effective remedy for addressing a building’s condition, capacity, or functionality issues.
Numerous assessment tools and methodologies are used to establish a Needs Index that ranks which schools across the state are most in need of renovation or replacement. The list is presented to the School Facilities Commission and Select Committee on School Facilities, who may approve the list “as is” or modify it.
Upon approval, the SFC/SFD works to obtain legislative funding for the facilities ranked highest on each index.
Q. What are the different phases of a capital construction project?
Capital construction projects typically involve three primary phases: planning, design, and construction. However, numerous steps and activities occur during each phase. For example, the design phase encompasses pre-design, schematic design, design development, creation of final construction documents, and Value Engineering.
Q. What are component-level projects?
Component-level projects, also referred to as minor capital construction projects, are those projects that are necessary for the maintenance and functionality of school buildings that cannot be funded solely with a school district’s Major Maintenance funds and may pertain to a building that otherwise may be lower on the Needs Index than other buildings receiving capital construction funds. Funding recommendations for component-level projects are included in the SFC/SFD Budget Request and must be approved by the Legislature.
Q. What is a major maintenance project?
Major Maintenance is defined as the repair or replacement of complete or major portions of school building and facility systems at irregular intervals which is required to continue the use of the building or facility at its original capacity for its original intended use and is typically accomplished by contractors due to the personnel demand to accomplish the work in a timely manner, the level of sophistication of the work, or the need for warranted work.
School districts receive annual funding from the state for major maintenance. The amount is derived from a formula that is partially based on the replacement value of school facilities in each district, as well as each district's ADM (Average Daily Membership).
Q. How does SFD create budgets for new school construction?
Since budgets are created long before architects are hired – and actual costs are known – the SFD uses a recent and historic cost comparison method when developing budgets. This approach looks at what the cost has been to build schools of similar size and scope in other parts of the state. At times, input from architects and contractors may be possible if they become involved early in the process and develop estimates that are considered more viable than historic costs.
Q. What is a construction contingency?
A contingency is a reserve of money that is set aside to help cover unforeseen expenses. For construction, the owner’s contingency is based on whether the project is a new model or a renovation, and ranges from 5% to 10% of the construction budget. Renovations usually have higher contingencies, while contingencies for new models fall near the 5% mark.
Q. What is an enhancement?
Wyoming Statute 21-15-111(a)(iii) defines an enhancement as any renovation, construction, replacement, repair or other improvement of or to any school building or facility initiated by a school district which is designed to bring the building or facility to a condition exceeding the statewide building adequacy standards.
For example, under the current adequacy standards, swimming pools, tennis courts, outdoor stadium lighting, and rubberized running tracks would all be considered enhancements -- and not eligible for state funding.
Q. What is a change order?
A change order modifies the original construction contract, signifying a change in cost, scope, timing or project requirements. Click here to view the SFC's policy on Change Orders.
Q. What is a MOU?
MOU refers to a “Memorandum of Understanding” executed between SFC and the districts to govern the terms and conditions of state funding of K-12 construction projects. It is under the terms of this MOU that a district will receive a Director’s Authorization Letter (DAL) to sign a contract for services, goods, or property.
Q. What is a DAL?
A Director's Authorization Letter (DAL) is used to transfer funds from SFC to school districts. Funds are transferred when the SFC has a copy of a bid, an unexecuted contract, or other document showing the actual cost of the service or project being solicited. Click here to view the SFC's Policy on DALs.
Q. What is an OAC meeting?
OAC is an acronym for Owner-Architect-Contractor. Meetings between the Owner, Architect, Contractor, and SFD Project Manager are held throughout the construction phase to discuss a range of topics. Including:
Q. What role does the SFD Project Manager play in the process?
SFD Project Managers work to ensure that the scope, cost, quality, and time requirements of the school district are met through the efficient planning and execution of project activities.
Their responsibilities include time management, budget monitoring, quality assurance, meeting coordination, reporting, as well as various other administrative tasks. For more on the role of Project Managers, click here.
Q. What is building commissioning?
Commissioning is a quality-assurance process that, ideally, begins during design and continues through construction and occupancy. Commissioning helps ensure the subsystems (HVAC, plumbing, electrical, fire/life safety, etc.) of a new building function as designed by the architect or engineer -- and meet the requirements of the owner/school district. The process also prepares the building staff to operate and maintain systems and equipment.
Q. My firm would like to bid on a project, what is the process?
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