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Chico Unified School District


Chico Unified School District

What is a facilities Master Plan?

What is a facilities Master Plan?

A Facilities Master Plan (FMP) is a living document produced as a summation of a comprehensive process and becomes the road map to address the District's current and future facilities improvement needs.  A Facilities Master Plan examines overall educational and facilities needs beyond any modernizations or improvements constructed to date at each site. Moreover, the process of developing a comprehensively prepared Facilities Master Plan includes a planning team and outreach process to solicit input from District's school sites and the community.  The final document communicates effectively to the community what the District's facility improvement needs are.
The Board approved the updated Facilities Master Plan at the September 6, 2023 Board Meeting.
View the Facilities Master Plan 2023 Update

View the Facilities Master Plan 2023 Update



Chico USD developed a District-wide Facilities Master Plan (FMP) in 2014 to ensure that the learning environments throughout the District were supporting the District’s mission and educational goals. Subsequently, that FMP was updated in 2016, and again in 2019. These prior Facilities Master Plans were focused on addressing growth in the District - growth generated by new housing, the addition of students displaced by the Camp Fire and full-day and transitional kindergarten programs. However, current demographics have changed for Chico USD, with a trend away from growth and toward a stable or flattening enrollment, depending upon location within the District and/or grade level.
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The District has made significant progress on the goals established in the Implementation Plan outlined in the prior FMPs. These projects have been guided by District Educational Specifications that were also developed as part of those prior FMPs, and were influential in evaluating the adequacy of existing facilities during the condition assessment phase. Equally important was the physical condition of the facilities, identifying the significant cost of deferred maintenance that comes with aging facilities.
Additionally, the 2023 FMP is informed by the work completed by the District since the adoption of the 2014 plan. Fueled by local general obligation (GO) bonds, the District was able to address the needs of many of its schools. Community input throughout this process suggested a desire to move more quickly, addressing the needs of school equity and conditions, but also recognizing the cost of prolonged construction, both in actual dollars and disruption to occupied campuses. This feedback provided an avenue for a discussion, at the elementary schools, of replacing schools rather than transforming them via multi-phased renovation.
The District adopted five guiding principles for the 2023 Facilities Master Plan. Those principles are outlined on the following page and served to assess the priorities that are part of the proposed implementation plan.
1. RIGHTSIZING - Specifically addressing the elementary school capacity concerns, rightsizing acknowledges the significant excess capacity that currently exists in the District. Many options were discussed, including school consolidation or downsizing, and the opportunity that the excess capacity provided for interim housing during complex construction projects or as a location for other district programs. This guiding principle prompted a “model capacity” adoption - small, mid-sized and large - for the District’s elementary schools.
2. KEEPING COMMITMENTS - Stakeholders at all levels recognized the need to understand and articulate any proposed changes to the District’s implementation plan, keeping commitments to the school sites that have been waiting for the opportunity for significant improvements. These commitments have been predominantly at the elementary school level, at least in the near term implementation schedule, and remain the priority, contingent on funding availability. The implementation plan is shared on page six of the Facilities Master Plan.
3. PLANNING FOR TRANSITIONAL KINDERGARTEN (TK) - Transitional Kindergarten, as a new grade level, has significant impact on facilities as requirements for the youngest learners include larger spaces (similar to traditional Kindergarten), but also ideally proximate to parent parking spaces and age appropriate outdoor learning spaces and equipment. The District has determined that a “capture rate” of 65% of the Kindergarten population is an appropriate expectation for student enrollment. Additionally, they have established a 24:1 student-to-teacher ratio.
4. SPECIAL EDUCATION (SPED) - Throughout the country, the special education population is growing at unprecedented levels. Due to specific requirements and design guidelines developed as part of the District’s educational specifications, and the unpredictability of the population, planning for SPED is a difficult facilities issue and often leads to these learners being placed in inadequate surplus spaces. The FMP identifies specific targets, per campus, for planning purposes.
5. SAFETY & SECURITY - Chico USD has been working through employing safety and security measures - controlled entry, fencing and gates, for example, throughout
the District. They have also established criteria for new or renovated building hardware, etc. The FMP seeks to address, as campuses are modernized, key planning issues around safety and security such as parking and drop-off safety, administration location and controlled points of entry.


Chico Unified School District currently operates 12 elementary schools, 3 junior high schools, 2 comprehensive high schools and 1 alternative high school. Additional facilities include 2 charter schools that operate on District-owned property, a District Office and a Corporation Yard. Additionally, the District owns vacant property for a future high school and a future elementary school.

The District contracted with King Consulting to update demographic analysis for the District in parallel to the early due diligence of the FMP. Their full report can be found as an appendix to this document, but excerpted portions are noted in this section in support of the recommendations of the FMP. Stakeholders found this information especially compelling in addressing rightsizing, transitional kindergarten spaces as well as the impacts of special education growth. Additionally, stakeholders identified the need for learning spaces at the elementary level beyond those “loaded” for student capacity to address the Arts, as well as other core student support programs.

At the junior and high school level, target capacities include the ability for educators to use their assigned classrooms for “prep” periods. This assumption is impactful at the high schools where block scheduling is utilized and classrooms spaces are utilized for instruction for less minutes per day. The following loading standards were adopted by the District for facilities planning purposes.


The condition assessment process examined all District facilities, evaluating the site against 10 key areas as shown in the matrix. The matrix is a summary of the entire campus; a more detailed summary,
building by building, is part of the campus specific portion of the FMP. A more detailed summary, by building system, is part of the Appendix. The process included site walk(s) and drawing review by electrical and
mechanical engineers, civil engineers as well as the architectural team.


The stakeholder engagement process is essential to a Facilities Master Plan (FMP) that represents the needs of the community. Key data that was presented to stakeholders includes: Prior FMP findings and progress, overall demographics and enrollment capacity, current and projected, as well as findings of the condition assessment. Engagement occurred at multiple levels as described below, intended to include the greatest nulber of stakeholders. The 2019 FMP was used as a starting point for these discussions.

Sections 5-7. SCHOOLS


Facilities include:
  • Canyon View
  • Henshaw Guynn
  • Oak Bridge Academy
  • District Administrative Office
  • District Corporation Yard


To support funding of future facilities needs in the District, the implementation plan has been repeated here with the addition of Order of Magnitude costs for future phases. It should be noted that assumptions were made for the scope, schedule and secondary impacts such as interim housing requirements. Those details are provided in the appendix. Escalation is a significant impact, estimated at 4% per year, but the opinions of cost are also shown in current dollars as well for comparison. Additionally, contingency of 10% was added to each project to allow for changing assumptions, and District "soft costs" of 25% were included in order to provide for expenditures required of the District beyond construction. The total program implementation, or "needs" of the District are estimated through Phase 7 at just under one billion dollars. District support facilities improvements are not included as they are anticipated well beyond the year 2048. It is important that the implementation plan is reliant on available funding either in the form of Local General Obligation Bonds, State School Facilities Funding and District Developer fees. Phase IV will be completed using remaining funds from the District's current General Obligation bond and related resources.

Section 10. Appendices

  • Appendix 1: Condition Assessment
  • Appendix 2: Cost Model
  • Appendix 3: Structural Report

Historical Reference - Facilities Master Plan (FMP)

Historical Reference - Facilities Master Plan (FMP)

Original FMP

The CUSD Long Range Facilities Master Plan was developed through a process that included input from complete District facility assessments, indepth demographic studies, visioning and focus group sessions, leadership meetings, facility meetings and well attended community meetings. These various sources of input are summarized in this master plan book, and further detailed in the accompanying appendix. District facility guidelines (standards) were developed to guide the facility assessment process. The facility assessment included both buildings and site of all campuses, and nonacademic sites in the District. These assessments reviewed and classified the educational program in areas of appropriateness, condition, technology and accessibility.  

2016 FMP Update

2019 FMP Update


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Phone: (530) 891-3000