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Editor's Focus: Fixer uppers

July 1, 2014
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.

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.

About the Author

Joe Agron Blog | Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher

Joe Agron is the editor-in-chief/associate publisher of American School & University magazine. Joe has overseen AS&U's editorial direction for more than 30 years, and has helped influence and shape national school infrastructure issues. He has been sought out for comments by publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, ABC News and CNN, and assisted with the introduction of the Education Infrastructure Act of 1994.

Joe also authors a number of industry-exclusive reports. His "Facilities Impact on Learning" series of special reports won national acclaim and helped bring the poor condition of the nation's schools to the attention of many in the U.S. Congress, U.S. Department of Education and the White House.

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