Project Introduction

The Insular Schools Assessment of Buildings and Classrooms initiative (Insular ABCs) is sponsored by the US Department of Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs (OIA), under the leadership of Assistant Secretary Eileen Sobeck. The initiative represents a partnership between OIA and the US Insular Areas of Guam, Commonwealth of Northern Marianas, American Samoa and US Virgin Islands, to improve the condition of K-12 public schools. Phase II of the initiative established a first-ever baseline inventory of insular schools and a comprehensive school building condition assessment that identified deficiencies and related improvement costs to assist public school facility investment decisions. OIA contracted with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Honolulu District to undertake the initiative. USACE retained Helber Hastert & Fee, Planners (HHF) and its multi-disciplinary team of experts to lead the effort.

Over an approximately 14-month period the project team developed a Facility Information Management System to compile, analyze and report the school facility data, and conducted rapid facility condition assessments of 115 insular area schools. The assessment estimated deferred maintenance costs for multiple insular school building elements (the cost needed to bring the element up to good physical condition) as well as facility condition index scores (the ratio of deferred maintenance cost divided by replacement cost, providing a relative measure of physical condition). These estimates were carried up through building, system, school, island, and insular area levels to provide holistic views of the data at various levels of detail. The assessments also included an energy audit and an evaluation of classroom indoor environmental quality.

The project team consulted with school district officials and gathered facility-related information throughout the inspections to help inform inspection findings.