Now that summer is here, teachers and students alike are relieved to be able to put their textbooks away and enjoy the warm weather. However, just because the school year has ended doesn’t mean the school building should be left empty and ignored.
Modernized Buildings Needed
The nation’s leaders have focused a lot on the ways children are taught, and are changing requirements regarding curriculum, testing standards and teacher qualifications. It is good to ensure that children are getting the best education possible to succeed later on in life.
“Schools that suffer problems with space must be modernized.”
Despite the changes made for the sake of what children learn and how, it’s also important to consider what important alterations need to be made regarding where students are taught. Many buildings were built before technological advancements made their way into classrooms. Some may have also been built with much smaller class sizes in mind, or fewer classes held at one time.
In these cases, it’s crucial that buildings are capable of meeting the needs of today’s students and teachers. Schools that suffer problems with space for students and teachers – or lack the ability to accommodate new teaching methods that utilize computers, tablets and other connected devices – must be modernized. Not doing so will do the students at that school a great disservice.
New Jersey School Gets an Upgrade
Hun School teachers and students will return to their classrooms in fall 2017 to find many changes, according to a recent press release. The Princeton, New Jersey, K-!2 school is undergoing numerous changes to the middle school building over the summer. The changes include expansions to learning areas like labs and classrooms, as well as common areas in which students can socialize.
“Middle Schoolers react to their learning environment in very unique ways,” said Middle School Head Ken Weinstein. “They crave learning and community spaces – places to come together, socialize, and collaborate. And every one of them also needs to feel like there’s a place on this campus that’s just for them. The Buck Building renovation will accomplish this and provide state-of-the-art teaching spaces for our faculty as well.”
The changes will accommodate an increasing student body as well as modern needs, such as two state-of-the-art STEM labs, a video and media studio and a robotics construction zone. Some of the 12 classrooms will be enlarged to nearly double the size they were before.
Brookline Schools Addresses Space Concerns
A community near Boston has increasingly struggled with constrained educational space, and is now taking on three important projects. The first is the construction of a ninth elementary school for Brookline, Massachusetts. In a presentation given on June 7, Public Schools of Brookline pointed out that next year’s estimated enrollment for grades K-8 would be 5,628 students. This is up 162 students from the 2015-2016 school year, and an increase of 801 students from just five years ago.
Due to the influx of students, the school board estimated there would be a shortage of 10 classrooms next year, 15 the following year and even more every year after that. Something had to be done to accommodate the growing student base.
This summer, the school district is focusing on site selection and community education as to the importance of a new school. The plan is to have it built by the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year – just in time to relieve a shortage of around 30 classrooms.
A similar story can be told about Devotion School, another Brookline elementary school. The last renovations took place in 1974, but enrollment has steadily increased in the decades since. There are now seven scheduled lunch periods, classes are crowded and accessibility for handicapped students throughout the building has proved to be inadequate. When enrollment reached 750 students in 1976, it was clear that space was beginning to be limited. Now with a student base of 846, the time has come to make substantial changes.
The proposed renovations will bring the number of classrooms up to 47 from the current 35 to accommodate a projected student base of 1,044. Other additions will include a new science lab with the proper storage space to hold chemicals, two centralized elevators and an enhanced ramp. A new turf field will also allow students more space for outdoor recess, and an enlarged cafeteria will accommodate more students during a lunch period. These changes are expected to begin this July.
The Brookline community is also looking forward to an expansion of Brookline High School, which, like the many elementary schools in town, is experiencing overcrowding issues as enrollment creeps up. These changes throughout the community are necessary to give Brookline families peace of mind when sending their children to school.
The Right Time to Upgrade
Summer is the perfect time to begin necessary renovations. The Environmental Protection Agency has noted that, while making changes to school buildings is important at times, it is even more important to consider the health of the children who spend good portions of their days in these buildings. Renovations can release harmful dust, chemicals and other contaminants into the air.
It is advisable that renovations take place when there will be fewer people using the school, whenever possible. Emergency situations may occur between the months of September and May that call for renovations, but by and large, it is possible to plan ahead and schedule maintenance work, repairs and additions to be made during the summer.
When planning renovations, it’s easy to focus on the old parts of the school that need to be taken down and discarded. But it’s also important to recognize the many items inside the building that need to be preserved. Textbooks, desks, lab materials, band equipment and more are all valuable items that teachers and students alike need and appreciate. They should be kept safe during the construction period by being stored safely away from danger. Mobile Mini’s portable storage solutions are the perfect addition to a construction project like this. All kinds of items can be neatly stored until it’s time to welcome students and teachers back into the classroom, or at least until construction has wrapped up.