The primary goal of any school is to provide an environment conducive for learning. This would cover the external and internal structure of the school where the atmosphere should be comfortable, secure, safe, accessible, well illuminated, well ventilated, and aesthetically pleasing for both students and school personnel alike. “The school facility consists of not just the physical structure such as plumbing, mechanical, electrical, telecommunications, security, fire prevention and suppression systems, and the various building systems, but it also includes furnishing, materials and supplies, equipment and information technology.
” It should also cover different aspects of the building grounds such as playgrounds, vehicular access and parking, athletic fields, and other areas for outdoor learning. It is said that “the layout and design of a facility contributes to the place experience of students, educators, and community members. ” There are varied feelings and reactions one would feel depending on the quality of design a school has; is it spacious or crowded; the facility also contributes to ones sense of ownership, safety and security, privacy as well as sociality.
When proper planning, designing, and managing school facilities, “these factors of the so called place experience should, when possible, be taken into consideration. ” Given the situation where existing spaces be converted to an office, first let us look into the set-up. The current condition is that there is an occupation work study class with an office at the back; this is the proposed area for the future office of the Assistant Principal. It should be noted that before changing or renovating school facilities several environmental issues are needed to be addressed.
These are classroom acoustics, indoor air quality, water quality, energy conservation, and abatement or asbestos, radon, and similar hazardous elements. These should also adhere to the government mandates such as energy deregulation and other regulations and guidelines of the state or federal levels. To expand the office but make both areas functional, the walls should be knocked down and be replaced with a sliding plastic divider. That will allow some private moments for small meetings but enable to accommodate even bigger groups.
There should be the right amount and sizes of windows for daytime lighting capabilities, proper ventilation, and exit for extreme urgent situation cases. An air-conditioning unit should also be installed to use during very hot season and this unit should particularly be mounted on the area where there is less ventilation. Although it seemed that there will be expenditures in the demolition of the wall and the purchase of the air-condition unit, however, not at all times will this unit be used. Instead, opening the walls will give the other part an access of the air from the classroom.
Oftentimes, if the air can already pass through the windows then there will be little use of electric generated equipments this will save on some of the operational cost but with a fully functional space. The demolition of the wall must be thoroughly reviewed by an engineer because it can be part of the structure and it can cause a collapse of the entire floor. Unless it is guaranteed to be safe, then it can be torn down. An alternative solution is to open the upper part of the wall to create a 1 foot opening to let air come in.
Making an opening on the upper part of a wall permits hot air to go out thus cooling the place. Brightly colored paint such as pastels can also allow and enhance the light inside the room. This can also contribute to cutting down lighting costs without sacrificing the condition of the personnel inside the room. As much as possible, the choice of furniture should be done in such a way that it would occupy some portions of the office yet not overcrowd it. The provision of the office equipments will rely on need of the school employees occupying the room.
Normally, this would involve computer, fax machine, telephone, printer, and all others that would facilitate the office tasks. This renovation is a typical example of maximizing the school’s available resources to make every room useful but with less cost. The main objective of all school administrators is to make use of every possible space and turn into a fully functional unit. In fact, some very big classrooms are already divided to contain small groups of students for study shows that the smaller the class size the better it is for learning.
Concurrently, this will cut down on some of the school’s operational expenses since bigger rooms would need more electricity for lighting and longer use of any cooling system. It is also more expensive if a separate wing will be constructed just to provide more rooms for office work or for educational purposes. The best way is to identify unused facilities and spaces in the existing structure and develop them to make it efficient and serviceable. Usually, an architect or a builder would know the right materials to use to save on cost and also to avoid hazardous incidents.
For whatever purposes these facilities are utilized, still it should adhere to providing better service to the students, school employees, faculty, and administrators. There must also be a long-range of planning activities that covers demographics, financial options, site acquisitions, adherence to legal matters and regulations, and sometimes community partnership prospects. The outcome of which will always result to the growth of a comprehensive capital improvement program to deal with unattained facility needs.
1. Pickus, L School Facilities – OVERVIEW, MAINTENANCE AND MODERNIZATION OF. Retrieved June 16, 2009, from State University. Com Web site: a href=”http://education. stateuniversity. com/pages/2394/School-Facilities. html”>School Facilities – OVERVIEW, MAINTENANCE AND MODERNIZATION OF> 2. Castaldi, B. 1994. Educational Facilities: Planning, Modernization and Management. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. 3. Brubaker, C. 1998. Planning and Designing Schools. New York: McGraw Hill.