3 Trends Causing Elementary Schools to Expand their Facilities
When you think of a school expansion, you may assume that it’s due to an increase in enrollment. It makes sense that the more students you have, the more classrooms you need. But did you know that there are actually three trends right now that are also causing a need for more classroom space?
Schools across the nation continue to expand facilities, due to a variety of trends. For some, it is the implementation of full-day kindergarten. By having students complete an extended day, it increases their educational skills and social development, as well as helping to comply with their parent’s work schedules.
Other factors come into play as well, such as race or income. According to an article by the University of Chicago Loyola, kindergartens with a high percentage of African American students are more likely to be enrolled for a full-day; as they tend to live in poorer areas of the country than children of other races. When children in areas of poverty can stay in school all day, it helps to keep them safe and increases their chances of successful development.
In recent years there has been an increase of mothers with full-time careers. According to the US Department of Labor Blog, the number of women in the labor force with college degrees has nearly quadrupled since 1970. “More than 40 percent of women in the labor force had college degrees in 2016, compared with 11 percent in 1970”. Due to this increase in full-time employment, parents are seeking out kindergarten schools that offer full-day education so that they do not have to hire nannies for after-school care.
According to the NEA (National Education Association) there are several proven benefits of implementing a full-day kindergarten program. These include the following:
Healthier, Happier Children
At this age, children are more than ready for a full-day of school. By being in a class setting for longer periods of time, this can attribute to social, emotional and intellectual benefits.
“Investments in quality early childhood programs generate returns of 3-to-1 or even higher, which translates to $3 saved for every $1 invested”. In other terms, when we invest in children’s education earlier in life, there are fewer dropout rates and higher chances of success later in the child’s life.
It’s no surprise that when a child benefits from a full-day of kindergarten, they are better- prepared for 1st grade and are more likely to excel.
Teachers Prefer It
Teachers claim that they see many benefits from children who are enrolled in full-day kindergarten, and that they have more time to teach a variety of subjects.
With a growing trend of full-day kindergarten, there creates a need for additional classroom space for the students. Many schools across the country choose to lease modular buildings as they provide a temporary and cost-effective solution for classroom space, restrooms, offices, and more.
In fact, Vanguard Modular is currently working with Melrose Public Schools in Massachusetts on two expansion projects for their schools; Winthrop Elementary and Herbert Clark Hoover Elementary. Both schools are in need of additional classroom space due to increased enrollment for kindergarten and other elementary classes.
A rendering of Hoover Elementary School’s Building Expansion, to be completed by Vanguard Modular Building Systems
A rendering of Winthrop Elementary School’s Building Expansion, to be completed by Vanguard Modular Building Systems
Vanguard Modular works with a variety of other schools who are also expanding their early learning programs. For example, Barnstable Public Schools in Massachusetts needed more classroom space at Hyannis West Elementary’s Enoch Cobb Early Learning Center. Vanguard successfully installed this permanent modular classroom building in-time for the students’ first day of school. Click here to learn more about this building project.
A completed classroom expansion building by Vanguard Modular Building Systems
New Legislation Causes Need for Classroom Expansion
There are other reasons that schools are looking to expand facilities, such as new legislation in certain states which are requiring schools to decrease their classroom sizes. According to an article by WRAL, “Next year, state law requires schools across North Carolina to reduce class sizes in kindergarten through third grade. Kindergarten classes, for example, would have to shrink from a maximum of 24 students to 19.” Schools are concerned with the possible cut of jobs in areas such as PE, art, music, and extra-curricular activities.
Besides the fear of cut jobs, school districts are preparing for the need to expand their classrooms. In Wake County, Superintendent Jim Merrill estimates that “the class size could cost his district $26 million and create a need for more classroom space.” This new legislation creates stress across the state, especially because the law will be enforced next year and gives little time to build new facilities. With modular construction however, temporary classroom buildings can be easily added to existing facilities in little time, and for a lower cost than traditional construction.
Consolidation of Schools
Another trend that is surfacing across the country is consolidation of schools from multiple facilities into one, larger facility. Several factors can lead to consolidation; however it is usually for economic efficiency. Here are a few examples of other factors that lead to consolidation:
Help the Weak
For some school districts, it is an attempt to combine struggling schools in hopes to make one larger, successful school. The Maine Department of Education is encouraging neighboring high schools to combine in order to implement career or technical training programs, also known as CTE. These programs lead to recognized licensure and certification in industry fields, and can help build partnerships with higher education institutions in the local area.
According to the ERIC Digest, when schools combine and create a stronger identity within the community, students gain a larger boost of confidence than previously before. Due to combined funding, extracurricular activities such as sports programs can flourish because they have more resources.
School districts strive to keep a consistency between each school, but it is not always easy to maintain. According to SHP Leading Design, inconsistency was reason enough for this school to merge their several elementary schools together, “Before Miami Trace consolidated, there were five different reading programs being taught throughout the seven elementary schools. This wasn’t intentional, but over time, programs were modified for various reasons.”
Implementation of Pre-K into Elementary Schools
Many individual pre-k schools are closing their doors and consolidating into their local elementary schools. There are many benefits of including pre-k within the k-5 elementary schools; which mainly includes the reduction of operating costs, as well as stream-lining the education gaps between grade levels. Elementary schools are looking to expand their facilities due to this increase of pre-k classrooms.
Although there are a plethora of reasons as to why schools need to expand their facilities, these three growing trends attribute to a large number. Full-day kindergarten, consolidation, and State Legislation are creating a demand for additional classroom space. Vanguard Modular offers both temporary and permanent classrooms for sale and lease. If you are looking to expand your school’s facilities, contact us today or learn more here.