tBP/Architecture understands that facilities modernization programs generally occur simultaneously with the continuing operation of the school. The important need is to minimally and carefully plan for student safety, interim classroom housing, construction phasing, temporary utilities, and construction access, staging, parking and other considerations.
Facility modernization is an opportunity to not only improve the facility for modern instructional delivery, it also presents the opportunity to remove any remaining hazardous older products, reduce the facilities energy and water consumption, improve the air quality, increase natural lighting and improve spatial acoustics.
Modernization Projects vs. New Construction
Throughout the United States, according to School Planning and Management’s Annual Construction Report, 85% of all school design and construction projects are renovation, modernization, and/or expansion projects. As educational facilities age and the advent of technology progresses, the need for program requirements to pair with student’s learning styles and integration of cultural diversity is ever present. Educational organizations will need to respond by investing in capital improvements to repair and enhance these learning environments. Modernization projects can be tricky and require a great deal of forensic analysis, educational programming and planning experience.
New construction on the other hand, is a fresh palette of possibilities. Working with teachers, students, administrators, and parent groups can be exhilarating and enjoyable. Creating new and tangible facilities, born from a flurry of ideas is rewarding and can create a lasting legacy for the stakeholders as well as the designers. Just as with renovation and modernization projects, managing expectations, controlling project costs, and equipping the facilities with the appropriate FF & E is vitally important.