Things to Consider Before You Start
Designing and building a new school is a monumental undertaking. Not only does one have to consider the physical design aspects of the school, but the evolution of education over the years also needs to be taken into consideration. Learning is much more interactive than it used to be, and the use of technology abounds. The building that children learn in should reflect that, while at the same time allowing for future growth.
The School’s Persona
Before beginning to build a new school, officials should first consider the school’s overall “persona.” That is, officials should decide how they want the school to be viewed by the community. What will the purpose of the school be, 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 be employed at the school? Without a clear end result in mind, the school may have difficulties getting off the ground.
Shared Space in School
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 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 technology applications used throughout the school. Computers, 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 and laptop stations should be plentiful. Studies have shown that using various technologies in the classroom contribute to the learning experience. During the planning phase, schools should consider the rate of change in technology today, and the future needs of their new school in this area.
The Eco-friendly School Building
Another issue to take into consideration before building is the overall sustainability of the school and its impact on the environment. With the push toward environmental consciousness, more and more schools are doing what they can to increase the eco-friendliness of their schools. Taking this into consideration during the planning phase of the project is a great way to truly have a positive impact on the environment, the community, and the students who will be attending the new school.
Here are a few other items to give some thought to when building a new school.
Physical environment in the classroom, such as heating, air conditioning, lighting, etc.
Community use of the facility — will the gym or auditorium be available to the community for non-school events?
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 building design and planning. The Hertz Design Center can help tailor both your room design layouts and appropriate 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 building up front, school officials increase the likelihood of creating a school that will serve the community effectively for years to come.