With more than 98,000 public school buildings, 33,000 private schools and almost 165,000 higher-education facilities in the United States, it’s not hard to find an education institution busily upgrading, renovating, constructing, repairing, improving, or conducting major maintenance.
Whether making significant building improvements to accommodate new technologies and programs; upgrading building systems to achieve better indoor environmental quality; replacing floors, lighting and roofs; or just giving walls a fresh coat of paint; everything being done is being done for one primary purpose: to create more healthful and effective learning environments.
Renovation and upgrade projects typically encompass a more accelerated timetable than do new construction projects. They also can be highly specialized; focusing on specific areas or types of improvements.
Because of the special nature of renovation and upgrade projects, every July American School & University publishes a Facilities Upgrade and Retrofit issue that explores numerous areas and issues that schools and universities face when embarking on these unique improvement projects. In the pages that follow, you’ll find expert insight into such things as how to phase upgrade and renovation projects; sustainability improvements that have the most impact; tips for creating healthy, safe schools; as well as strategies for success for such things as energy, entry systems, flooring, washrooms and other specialized areas.
As highlighted in the recent report, “Condition of America’s Public School Facilities, 2012-13” (see AS&U’s April Editor’s Focus), the nation’s school buildings are in desperate need of immediate repair and improvement, with an estimated $200 billion required to address the issue. The upgrade and repair projects schools and universities currently are conducting are the types of things the report stresses are needed to improve our education infrastructure.
Once completed, the upgrades and improvements that will welcome students and staff back to school next month will hopefully accomplish what they were meant to do. Then, planning can start on the next round of repairs and renovation because, as we all know, the work never really ends.