Podcast Interview: Episode 2 of “Built Modular” an Interview with General Manager of Sales, Jody Werner
We recently released a podcast series called, “Built Modular”. Its purpose is to help individuals like you to discover how modular construction is changing the way people build space.
In this blog, we outline the details that were discussed in episode two of Built Modular. Specifically, topics around modular classroom buildings. This blog answers questions about classroom sizes, building customizations, regulations, and more. You can listen to the full podcast episode here.
Size and Construction for Modular Classroom Buildings
Typically, a modular classroom measures around 700 square feet. For larger projects however, classroom buildings can easily exceed 10,000 square feet. In fact, a school could have anywhere between 1 to 10+ classrooms under a single roof.
The size of a modular classroom depends on each school’s different needs and programs. It is what drives decision making, including state requirements or aesthetic desires.
A lot of factors influence size. These are some primary driving components:
- The individual needs of the school (different programs set in place or state regulations).
- Property (available space, fire separation from building to building).
- Budget (10 classrooms versus 2 classrooms can be a big difference for one’s budget).
- Public schools may have certain size requirements, or a specific teacher-student ratio per classroom.
- Private schools like a Montessori may have smaller classroom sizes but require larger square foot requirements per child.
- Size depends on each school, their philosophy for teaching, state regulations, etc.
- Not a “one size fits all” criteria.
Small and Large Classrooms: The Pros and Cons
Smaller buildings can typically be built and set up more quickly than large classroom building projects. They can also be phased in and out easily since they are individual buildings with only one or two classrooms in them. When comparing five small buildings with two classrooms to one large building with ten classrooms, the smaller buildings will require more total land due to space requirements between structures. Although it must be mentioned that the land requirement would not have to be in a single large block like what would be required for a large modular classroom building. A campus of smaller modular classroom buildings will require more infrastructure, such as sidewalks, utility runs, decks, steps, and ramps, etc.
Larger classrooms may take longer to get built, installed, and running; however, they offer a secure learning environment where there is typically only two entry points to the building with a large number of classrooms. They also allow students to move from class to class within a single building.
Regulations and Rules: Do They Determine the Size of a Classroom Building?
Regulations, requirements, and codes are driven by each state. Some do have requirements for classroom sizes or teacher-to-student ratios. For the most part however, it is up to the individual school to decide what is best for them and their needs.
It is also important to keep in mind that as the square footage of a classroom increases, so do other costs that need to be factored in- such as shipping, building, materials, installation, etc.
What Type of Classroom are Educators Looking for?
For years, rows of desks and one teacher classrooms were the norm. Now with technology, a move towards collaborative environments, and changes in the way we think- are there any changes in the way that classrooms are designed? Have these ideas changed what schools expect?
The answer to this question is that schools are very slow to change. For many years, schools had chalk boards. Over time they slowly moved to marker boards, and now smart boards. Although schools do adapt, it takes many years for this evolution to happen due to the combination of cost and logistic challenges.
Small versus Large Classrooms- What Sets them Apart from One Another?
Often times, larger classrooms are customized to meet the needs of the aesthetics on campus. Some schools don’t want a “plain jane” building, but rather something that matches existing roof lines, or the exterior of other buildings- such as brick or stone.
On the interior they may want specific paint, hard wood floors, laminate flooring, larger windows, or more natural lighting systems. It all depends on the customer’s needs and a lot of customization can be done. With that being said, many schools stick with the standard, commercial code buildings. It all comes down to preference.
Most often, customization is about the material that’s used on the building, such as steel or brick. Our sales experts guide the customer by showing previous examples of projects we’ve put in place. There may be features that the customer would like based on the photos of existing projects. Customizations can also include interior finishes, hardware, as well as electrical and plumbing fixtures.
Aesthetics aren’t the only upgrades, however. Certain buildings may need exhaust systems or fume hoods, like that of a laboratory building. We can work with customers to decide which customizations fit their needs.
Common Questions Schools Ask About Modular Classrooms
“What’s it going to cost me?” is a common question, yet difficult to answer. Your modular builder can provide you with a cost on the building and scope of work. However, there are sometimes additional factors like site developments and permits which are required by a municipality. You can learn more about the cost of a modular classroom building here.
Customers also want to know about the timeline: “How long does it take?” is a common question. If it’s a classroom, then we typically ask customers to please have the building ordered no later than March. By the time it takes to receive engineered building drawings, the plan review process, and the permitting process, its already June or July. And schools open in late August or early September.
This is a review of “Built Modular” Episode 2 – a podcast by Vanguard Modular Building Systems. Listen to more episodes Here:
For additional information about modular building construction, visit www.VanguardModular.com or call 1-877-438-8627 to discuss your space needs.