Invest in Planning and Design When Building a New School
Things to Consider Before You Start Building a School
Designing and building a school is a monumental undertaking. Not only must you consider the physical design aspects of the school, but the evolution of education over the years must also be studied. Learning is much more interactive than it used to be, and the use of technology abounds. The school building that children learn in should reflect that, while at the same time allowing for future growth.
The School’s Persona
During the planning and design phase of building a school, officials should strategize the school’s overall “persona.” That is, how do they want their institution to be viewed by the community? What purpose does the school serve, and what are its ultimate educational goals? What are the types and ages of the students who will be educated in the facility? What teaching philosophy and curriculum will the school employ? Beginning with the end in mind will positively help school construction get off the ground.
Shared Space in School Building
Officials also need to consider the layout of the physical space within the facility before getting started. Many schools are moving toward the use of shared space for the storage of curricular materials. This allows teachers to store teaching supplies and educational materials in a centralized location, thereby freeing up space within the well-designed classroom to be used for other activities. Classroom size can then be reduced, which reduces costs within the budget for the overall project.
Planning for Technology
A related issue to consider is the wiring and cabling needed for the various school technology applications used throughout the facility. Computers, computer furniture, data ports, an adequate internet server, and video cables and monitors are critical not only now, but in the future. High-quality audio speakers will need to be installed throughout the school building and laptop stations should be plentiful. Studies have shown that using various technologies in the classroom contribute to an expanded learning experience. During the planning and building design phase, schools should consider the technology growth rate today, and the future technological needs of their school.
The Eco-friendly School Building
Another imperative issue to consider before building a school is its overall sustainability and impact on the environment. With the trend toward environmental consciousness, an increasing number of schools are doing what they can to improve the eco-friendliness of their buildings. Exploring these issues during the project’s planning and design phase is a sure-fire way to have a truly positive impact on the environment, the community, and the students who will be learning in the new school building.
School Design Considerations
Here are a few other items to keep in mind when building a school.
1. Physical classroom environment: heating, air conditioning, lighting, etc.
2. Safety and security measures
3. Community-use of the facility — will the gym or auditorium be offered to the community for non-school events?
4. Use of open spaces and playgrounds
This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are many other issues to be taken into consideration before actually breaking ground on a new school. Fortunately, there are additional resources available to help with school building design and planning. The Hertz Design Center can help tailor both your room design layouts and appropriate school furniture layouts to your school’s specific needs, and they do it at no additional cost. They’re a great resource to have during your planning process.
By giving some thoughtful consideration to the overall design of the school building up front, administrators increase the likelihood of creating an institution that will serve the community effectively for years to come.