Oakland Unified School District

NEW CENTRAL OFFICE

Logistical hurdle with little time to solve

Oakland Unified School District school district in the Bay Area serving 35,000 students pre-K through 12th Grade on over 90 campuses. The District is supported by ~300 Central Office employees, including the Superintendent, who, since 2016, have operated out of leased office space in downtown Oakland. A new district office building was approved for construction in the 2020 master plan and related bond measure. In 2020, a new OUSD Board of Directors voted to slash the construction budget for a new central office building by 30% and, at the same voted to end the lease on downtown office space by 2023 in favor of space within district-owned land. This abrupt decision left the Superintendent with a logistical hurdle with little time to solve it. MKThink developed a space program and operational model for a ‘collaborative hub’ office designed to bring staff together around in-person meetings and events while leveraging remote work activities where appropriate to task and function. MKThink also helped the district analyze the pros and cons of alternatives to new construction including repurposing existing underutilized school facilities at 8 locations. The study determined that other alternatives would take up to 24 months longer to complete, would require an additional $2.8 M in lease payments, and would add up to $50M. As a result, the Board voted to approve the recommended options: a new construction project with a much smaller office space footprint. MKThink is rolling out a robust change management and training program with OUSD staff to prepare them for the cultural shift towards a hybrid workplace model.

PROJECT:

DATES:
2010-2016
COMPLETION:
CITY:
Oakland
STATE:
California
SIZE/SCALE:
5,926,301 SF
CITY:
MARKET:
K-12
CHALLENGE:

SERVICES:

CHALLENGE:
In 2020, a new OUSD Board of Directors voted to slash the construction budget for a new central office building by 30% and, at the same voted to end the lease on downtown office space by 2023 in favor of space within district-owned land. This abrupt decision left the Superintendent with a logistical hurdle with little time to solve it.
ACTIONS:
SERVICES:
MKThink developed a space program and operational model for a ‘collaborative hub’ office designed to bring staff together around in-person meetings and events while leveraging remote work activities where appropriate to task and function. MKThink also helped the district analyze the pros and cons of alternatives to new construction including repurposing existing underutilized school facilities at 8 locations. The study determined that other alternatives would take up to 24 months longer to complete, would require an additional $2.8 M in lease payments, and would add up to $50M. As a result, the Board voted to approve the recommended options: a new construction project with a much smaller office space footprint. MKThink is rolling out a robust change management and training program with OUSD staff to prepare them for the cultural shift towards a hybrid workplace model.
RESULT:
MKThink determined that OUSD could operate a collaborative Central Office hub on existing OUSD property within 40% of the space and 2/3 the budget of the originally conceived project. After a robust engagement period with staff and leadership, MKThink devised an organizational approach that leveraged a mix of space sharing, remote workspace, policy, and technology initiatives to reduce OUSD office footprint by 40% and related construction costs by 25%. By using existing DSA-approved designs, MKThink approach saved the district its initial design investment.
UPDATE:
METRICS OF SUCCESS:
Avoided costs of building out the full 33,000-sf new facility – about $23 Million in capital savings diverted in favor of education-focused projects. $2.8 M in General Fund obligations saved by retiring monthly lease payments. Avoided $1M in sunk costs by leveraging existing DSA-approved designs for building superstructure. Utilization of spaces in the building through space scheduling metrics. Additionally, there was an increase in staff retention.
AWARDS:
PUBLICATIONS: