Will Renovations Work for Your School Buildings?

By Adele Willson

Not the students, but the school itself. And in the long run, that’s not good for your students either.

A link has been drawn between adequate facilities and the quality of education, absenteeism, morale, productivity, attrition, and student health. But even though about $50 billion is spent annually on facility acquisition and construction, many of our nation’s 97,000 public elementary and secondary schools need everything from minor upgrades to major overhauls.

A subpar school can jeopardize your students’ academic performance as well as their health and ability to participate in activities. A highly functional school, on the other hand, allows both educational and administrative functions to perform at their peak while offering a stimulating environment for students. To do this, computer labs, libraries, special education classrooms, gyms and fitness areas, indoor air quality, lighting, security, and other facets of today’s academic environments must be sufficient and effective.

Evaluate your schools throughout their life cycles to determine when and where adjustments need to be made. How a building functions today and how it will meet the needs of future generations should be considered at the forefront of any renovation or new construction project. You should also engage an architect and/or an engineering firm to spearhead the assessment process and provide a proper evaluation of the building and its physical condition.

The building renewal process is ripe with challenges for a school board, the community, faculty and staff, parents, and students. You must consider a number of factors when determining whether a building can or should be reused as an educational facility. But, if handled properly, the process also is a remarkable opportunity for change and rejuvenation. 

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