‘Millennium School’ offers space, flexibility
Schools in the 21st century will undergo many changes in design, space and technology. That is if cities and counties follow the findings of a recent survey.
Heery International, an Atlanta-based engineering firm, recently commissioned a Millennium School Study that surveyed teachers, principals and assistant principals nationwide to find out what schools in the new millennium should look like. The results provide a model on which to build and improve 21st century education.
Not surprisingly, teachers want schools to adapt to changes in technology by adding computer stations, electrical outlets and printers to classrooms. Eighty-nine percent of respondents favored computers in each classroom as well as a separate computer lab.
They also would like to replace hard plastic chairs with more comfortable furniture. And, because new furniture and equipment would require more space, and thus, larger classrooms, more windows should be added to allow for better ventilation and more natural light. “Bright,” “cheerful” and “welcoming” are the desirable elements of the millennium school.
In addition to those changes, teachers said they would like restrooms and sinks in each classroom, noting that roughly 6–8 percent of each day is wasted on leading students to and from hallway restrooms. Participants also said a hand-washing station in each classroom would be helpful during craft projects and before meal time.
Educators named numerous other elements they would like to see in the millennium school. Those included ample classroom storage closets for supplies and other materials; teacher telephones instead of intercom speakers; secure display areas for awards, school projects or artwork; wider hallways; separate cafeterias and auditoriums instead of the “cafetorium;” storage areas and ample dressing rooms in gymnasiums; a planning area for teachers within the classroom; teacher lounges and conference areas; outdoor benches, courtyards or atriums; security cameras; and a room with copiers and additional craft materials, teaching resources and office supplies.
The engineering company estimates that renovating an existing facility, by converting a three-classroom block into a two-classroom block with restrooms and the other amenities, would cost approximately 50 or 60 percent of the price of new construction. However, the renovation also would reduce the total building space by 30 percent.
The survey, which included focus groups and telephone polls, was performed by Beth Schapiro & Associates, Atlanta. The total sample size was 1,050, including 150 public school educators from Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Seattle.
For a copy of the survey, contact Heery Corporate Communications, 999 Peachtree St., NE, Atlanta GA 30367, (404) 881-9880.