Board, Staff, and Community Involvement in Facilities Planning
"The futures symposium featured leading educational futurists who spoke on three topics: practical application of technology in the classroom and other areas of school buildings; the environment in which learning and technology takes place; and the human element that demands that we provide interaction among students, between teachers and students, and among other persons within schools. Small groups of teachers, administrators, parents, and representatives of architectural firms discussed the topics and questioned the speakers. The groups then listed questions, suggestions, and comments on how they felt the district should develop the new instructional delivery system and prepare new educational specifications.
"The symposium was held in spring 1988, and is being followed up with a new program called Strategy 2020. At least 20 small groups are now developing an executive summary, lists of problems to be solved, recommendations, and assessments of the impact on facilities, costs, and training needs. The sub-committees that focus on instructional strategies, organizational structures, and support services. The strand committees' resulting reports will be brought together in a coordinated vision and presented to the board of directors for adoption.
"Our discussion have pointed out the need for teachers to observe the many new teaching techniques and technology currently operating in the district. A "New Teaching Practices/Technology Fair" will feature district teachers demonstrating their new teaching techniques that utilize technology. The district will apply an hour of early-dismissal time and paid after-school time to allow teachers to attend the fair. We hope that the fair will make new ideas seem less formidable, as reluctant teachers see their colleagues using new media.
"In employing architects, the district requires each architectural firm to have an "educational futurist" on its consulting staff. This allows the district access to those futurists at no additional cost and provides a system for an outside expert to critique the district's process and results."
-Eugene R. Hertzke, Superintendent, Central Kitsap School District No. 401, Silverdale, WA
"In my experience, effective staff and community involvement throughout the facility planning process have been very difficult to maintain. Consensus takes time and decisions seem to require instantaneous responses in many cases."
-Diane Means, Principal, Cupertino Union School District, CA
Board/Staff/Community Involvement and Planning Issues
"Clear lines of communication between appropriate personnel must be established early in the project. A single representative from the architectural/engineering firm must be designated to communicate with the school board. Likewise, a single representative of the school board must be designated to communicated with the architectural firm. On some occasion, it may be appropriate for both of these individuals to communicate with others in the opposite group, but those occasions should be rare and must include contact with the proper organization representative.
"Through these strict lines of communication, we have been very successful in minimizing confusion, side deals, and conflict which can emanate from a school board representative attempting to direct the general contractor or his subcontractors. We have also prevented problems that could arise from representatives of the architectural/engineering firm contracting department chairs, teachers, coaches, and others within the school district.
"By law, the board of education must approve change orders to the contract. A critical step is presenting the board with enough information for it to understand the change conceptually and the reasons for associated costs. The school board representative must be able to present the material to the board in layman's language.
"It is important for the board of education and the superintendent to understand in advance the need for change orders. School buildings are of such magnitude that individual change orders can easily reach into the tens of thousands of dollars. Board members, attempting to exercise their responsibility to monitor the expenditure of public funds, can become very concerned about change orders unless they are well schooled in the need for, magnitude of, and frequency of occurrence of change orders.
"No amount of technology will be useful if teachers are not comfortable with it or do not understand how it can be employed effectively in the classroom. In the same vein, it is important for board members and citizens of the district to understand the value of technology in the teaching/learning process so that parents and board members might accept the cost of building it into educational facilities.
Planning the Media Center
"Even had we been building only one school under a single roof, I think it is very likely we would have separated the print and non-print media centers. The activities of a television studio or a mini/mainframe computer facility are very security conscious, quite active, and would in most cases be inappropriately located in a print media center.
Soliciting Industry for Help With Facilities Planning
Creating Educational Specifications
"Each time we build a school, we learn something new and then try to include our discovery in the next facility. Three is always a very healthy interchange between the principal on special assignment and the architectural planning group. We have also used our faculty extensively in the programming, schematic design, and design development phases of planning our schools.
Hiring Architects and Engineers
"We also agree with the author on the importance of choosing an excellent architect and not choosing an architectural firm simply because it is local, is known to board members, or has some means of access to the organization. Competence is the most relevant factor in the selection of the architect. We also agree with the author's evaluation of the responsibility levels for errors and omissions by the architect/engineering firm. School buildings of any size will include errors, and it is important that there be a very firm, written understanding between the architect/engineer and the school district about how to handle them."
-Thomas F. Wilson, Principal on Special Assignment, Independent School District 196, Rosemount, MN
Learn how Pittsburgh City Schools has structured their network and client setups for the district.
In this Module:
In the Toolkit:
|Toolkit Home Page||Why Change?||Why Technology?|
|Planning||Policy||Curriculum and Assessment|
|Community Involvement||Facility Planning||Funding|
|Prof'l and Ldrship Development|