LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
A CONVERSATION WITH
BOARD OF TRUSTEES CHAIR
Q. Why is this a good time for the School to think about new buildings?
Our school is in good shape! Healthy enrollment and good
financial discipline has put FAIS in a strong position with regard to reserves and our balance sheet allows for a degree of internally funded capital expenditures. We have made enormous progress over the last five years, by building on the fantastic efforts and contributions of the family members, staff, faculty and some generous donors who are now a part of our community. And, there is a clear demand and need for us to begin to upgrade and replace our buildings now, before many of the modular buildings begin to require costly and unproductive repairs.
Q. What preliminary steps has the Board taken to move forward on a possible capital project?
Q. What is the role of the FAIS Board of Trustees? A. Our school Board has two key responsibilities: the first is to ensure sound long-term management of the School’s financial resources; in essence, to make sure the budget is balanced, and will continue to be balanced through a variety of potential future scenarios. The Board also sets the School’s long-term strategic plan in support of FAIS’ mission and vision. These dual roles help to ensure that the School’s programs, facilities, and capabilities serve the best interests of the FAIS community today, and long into the future.
Q. What is the current Board focused on at this time?
Last year, the Board engaged the Portland architectural
firm BOORA to help map out a strong framework for a longterm site plan for FAIS. We have an incredible richness in our 15 acres, but lots of unknowns. On what parts of our land can we build? How do slope, environmental easements, and traffic regulations restrict our use of the land? Would it make sense to try to acquire adjacent land? What do we really need most? BOORA has an excellent reputation in the Portland community, and has worked with several other schools and educational institutions on similar projects. They spent a long time gaining an understanding of the current workings of our community by asking important questions such as: How do our children live and learn at school? Where and how do parents engage with
As part of its strategic responsibility, the Board of Trust-
facilities? What do the teachers have to work with, and what
ees at FAIS routinely reviews the School’s campus and facilities
do they need? How does traffic flow at different times of the
and how they are meeting the needs of our students. Anyone
visiting the School can see that many of our buildings are modular. They have served us well but they were not designed
The BOORA team observed our campus and met a number
for permanent, long-term use and must eventually be replaced.
of times with several constituency groups to understand our
The Board is now working to extend and formalize earlier work
needs and priorities. They used this information, along with
conducted by prior committees, Boards, administrations, and
clear guidance from the Board regarding our likely financial
faculty to formalize a plan of action to begin to replace the
capabilities, to scope out several options for the renewal and
improvement of our facilities. As this plan was developed,
The official magazine of the French American International School in Portland, Oregon