Construction or renovations on school properties can involve vastly different projects. It can be classrooms, a playground, a cafeteria, an athletic field, a library, a gymnasium, a sensory room, an entryway/commons addition, or a FEMA-compliant earthquake/tornado shelter for the entire student body.
Magnet or charter schools that emphasize different curricula – science, visual and performing arts, medicine, communications, chef skills, technology, or leadership – will each have different structural needs in areas of the school.
Regardless of the project, specific universal tips help ensure its success. Below we dive into a handful of strategies that stakeholders can leverage to keep private school construction projects on schedule and budget.
Planning Is Key
School construction – whether from scratch or renovation, built with traditional or modular methods – must take place on a tight timeline due to the seasonal nature of the school calendar. You must finish projects on time because faculty and students will show up on a specific date. This requires planning at a comprehensive level among all parties.
Create a Committee
While you should involve all stakeholders in the project, a core team of representatives should ultimately make decisions and communicate with contractors. This streamlines the process and reduces the risk of confusion or messages lost in translation between the boardroom and job site.
The Path of Least Disruption
If renovations are being done while students are present, safety and site awareness are paramount. Compliance with the American Disabilities Act is required. Also, working around carpool lanes, school buses, and parking must be coordinated perfectly between construction crews and school administration.
Consider Renovation Vs. New Construction
Private education facilities face aging buildings and changing priorities, along with smaller budgets, which makes remodeling a more cost-efficient option. There’s also a lack of space for the footprint needed to expand as land becomes a premium. With renovations, schools can do more with less, and students and staff face fewer disruptions and a shorter project timeline.
Don’t Overlook Safety Features
Unfortunately, private education facilities must turn a keen eye towards safety, but increased on-campus violence has made it an important design consideration. Architecture must include elements that deter and detect potential criminals and make sure that first responders can quickly and easily mitigate any threats. Fencing, door locks, resilient glass, and surveillance tools should all be a part of the plan.
Optimize Energy Efficiency
Most private schools and educational facilities are looking to increase their energy efficiency and reduce their carbon footprint, and educational facilities are no different. Optimized HVAC systems and lighting layouts are critical for designing sustainable buildings. Even the size of rooms and shared spaces can make a difference. The school buildings should support tech that can automate essential processes and leverage occupancy sensors, and the exterior should enhance these initiatives.
Make Room for Tech
Classroom technology is no longer a luxury. Affordable options are available for students across the learning spectrum, but it’s only effective if spaces and facilities are designed to make the most of these investments. There need to be dedicated areas to use the tech and store it when students engage in traditional, non-tech pedagogy. Scalable infrastructure should be a top consideration as well.
While each educational facility will need to be built to meet the needs of learners, it’s essential to keep these trends in mind to give your students a competitive edge in school and beyond. Working with a trusted, qualified construction firm that understands why these trends are important is the first step to creating or enhancing your facility.
Our staff and construction crews have grown up building area schools for generations. We understand the tight timelines with school projects, and we are experts in all school construction areas — get in touch with our team!