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DoDEA Begins School Year with Facilities Renovation and Construction Initiative

For Immediate Release — August 10, 2010 | HQ
: DoDEA Educational Communications Officers | (703) 588-3260
: DoDEA Educational Communications Officers | (703) 588-3265


Construction of new buildings are underway at Wiesbaden High School, as older buildings are torn down. A trench for pipes and wiring for the new buildings was laid down during the summer break and is scheduled to be finished when school resumes in August.

ARLINGTON, VA — August 10, 2010 — The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) begins School Year 2010-2011 with a major facilities renovation and construction initiative that will eventually result in the modernization of 134 schools worldwide.

The initiative starts this October with the beginning of Fiscal Year 2011 and is scheduled to span the next several fiscal years through Fiscal Year 2016. Close collaboration and cooperation between DoDEA, The Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, the Military Services, the Department of Defense Comptroller, and the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Installations and Environment resulted in a plan to address $3.7 billion in Military Construction (MILCON) needs for DoDEA facilities.

The multi-year MILCON funding program will bring all 970 DoDEA school facilities to the Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) acceptable quality standard of Q2 or better. The DoD Quality Rating (“Q-Rating”) system is a 4-level system which describes the condition of a DoD facility, to include DoDEA schools. The DoD has set a target of acceptable performance at Q2 and a useful life duration for school facilities of 45 years.

Q-Ratings are defined as followed:

  • Q-1 New or well maintained (Good)
  • Q-2 Satisfactorily maintained (Fair)
  • Q-3 Under-maintained (Poor)
  • Q-4 Considered for replacement (Failing – facility is still safe, but more cost effective to replace than maintain)

Currently 30% of the DoDEA schools are at a Q2 rating or better, with the remaining 70% at a Q3 or Q4 rating. Forty nine percent of the DoDEA schools have facilities that are 45 years of age or older. DoDEA will use the additional resources to bring all of its facilities to a Q2 or better level. At the conclusion of the program less than 7% of the DoDEA facilities will be more than 45 years old.

DoDEA’s goal is to provide safe, secure, and well-managed environments that focus on student achievement. All DoDEA facilities receive special focus in four areas:

  • Safety and security: All facilities undergo two safety inspections per year and are required to meet the Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection regulations.
  • Education: DoDEA has developed design standards and education specifications based on best-industry practices for school facilities.
  • Technology: All schools have local area network cabling infrastructure.
  • Condition Quality: Schools are assessed every three years. Most schools do not meet DoD’s expected quality level.

Facility assessments are conducted every three years and projects are prioritized through a process that includes the Military Services and DoDEA’s District, Area, and Headquarters personnel.

Determination of DoDEA Q-ratings begins with a thorough facility condition assessment conducted by a professionally-trained team. This team collects facts about the facility such as age, systems deterioration, current and projected maintenance costs as well as facility deficiencies that must be corrected to meet current standards for life safety and accessibility. This data collecting is complimented with an eyes-on survey to verify life cycles or to focus on additional elements of the facility. The cost of bringing the facility up to an acceptable condition is weighted against that of replacing the facility. DoDEA facilities are being replaced because it is more cost effective than renovation to correct all the deficiencies. The Q-Rating is simply a comparative value of the cost of deficiencies in relation to the total replacement cost. The Q-rating is assigned depending on where this value falls within the DoD Q-rating scale.

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Mr. Kevin Kelly, DoDEA Associate Director for Financial and Business Operations, answers.

Question: School facilities appear to be in good order – they have fresh paint, they’re clean, and they seem to be in good repair – how can the majority of DoDEA facilities be at a Q3 or Q4 rating?

Historically, DoDEA has budgeted for and has been provided MILCON funds that allowed for the replacement of one school per fiscal year. In addition, the Military Departments plan for and budget for new schools required to support their new or enhanced mission requirements. The Army provided funds to DoDEA for new schools required to support the Residential Communities Initiative (RCI). The Marine Corps also provided funds for new schools on its installations through housing Private-Partner Venture-Funds which are not transferred to DoDEA.

[flashvideo image="/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/vid_2010_kelly.jpg" file="/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/q2_FIN_CAP.flv" width="520"/]

Mr. Kevin Kelly, DoDEA Associate Director for Financial and Business Operations, answers.

Question: How did DoDEA let a majority of its facilities decline to the Q3/Q4 rating level?

An infusion of $600 million in Fiscal Year 2008, the result of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008, provided additional funds to allow for the replacement of 3-4 schools per year beginning with Fiscal Year 2010 and continuing through Fiscal Year 2015 and also allowed for a more rapid completion of large construction projects. However, overall, DoDEA facilities continued to decline at a pace that was ahead of the capability to fund major construction projects.

All new construction and renovation projects covered by DoDEA’s new MILCON initiative will be prioritized according to facility condition and age, with those facilities that are in the worst condition and the oldest addressed first. Other factors will be considered in the prioritization process, such as project difficulty, phasing requirements, educational impact, and construction cost efficiency.

School facilities require a significant time and resource investment before they are ready for students and staff members. Major military construction projects, to include school and administrative buildings, normally require 5 years from start to finish, which encompasses the steps of project proposal, approval, funding, planning, and construction. In the meantime, DoDEA has a requirement and responsibility to maintain its facilities to ensure the educational process is not affected.

[flashvideo image="/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/vid_2010_kelly.jpg" file="/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/q3_FIN_CAP.flv" width="520"/]

Mr. Kevin Kelly, DoDEA Associate Director for Financial and Business Operations, answers.

Question: How does DoDEA ensure its present facilities are maintained to a high quality standard while new facilities are planned and constructed?

DoDEA HQ Office of Communications

4800 Mark Center Dr.
Alexandria, VA 22350-1400

The DoDEA Communications Office initiates and manages DoDEA's communications and outreach efforts worldwide. The office coordinates press relations, internal information programs and communication with students, parents, teachers, school administrators and the public.

The HQ Communications Office:

Issues news releases and media advisories about DoDEA initiatives, employees and programs Produces video and television promotional and informational products marketed worldwide Maintains the DoDEA web site Designs printed promotional and informational material and graphic artwork to accompany publications, promotions and initiatives

Area Communications Offices: