What To Do When School Facilities Plans Fall Short
School facilities plans often fall short around the United States, and it is not typically because of poor planning. Unexpected population shifts, regional economic fluctuations, and funding changes, among many other contributing factors are the real cause for facilities plans falling short. There is a saying that ‘the best laid plans are paved with good intentions‘. Existing school facilities almost always made sense at the time the buildings were constructed; but inevitably external pressures and internal shifts begin creating a dynamic that was not anticipated in the original facility design. Here are examples of factors that can make facility plans fall short:
• Classrooms designed for a normal class size may be reassigned for special education instruction, often holding fewer students
• Local residential construction may create an unanticipated influx of students
• Opening or closing of nearby schools
• District consolidation
• Aging schools requiring replacement or remodeling
• Legislative changes, regarding instructional requirements, class sizes, funding, etc.
Temporary Facility Plan
Individually, these and other factors may not seem like a big deal, but as years pass the combined complexity and burdens can weigh heavily on schools. School officials often defer decisions as long as possible because of resource concerns, such as funding and manpower. Justifiably, uncertainty is also a contributing aspect for delayed decisions regarding major facility changes.
Ultimately, modifications to existing facilities is slow moving, so plans are often altered by making adjustments on-the-fly. Temporary modular classrooms are used as short-term solutions, while schools work to come up with a comprehensive long-term facility modification plan. Classrooms almost always seem to receive the most attention and are addressed first, when it comes to adequate space. The issue is that classroom capacity expansion does not occur in a bubble. It has impacts on other areas of school infrastructure, which many times go unaddressed.
Impacts and Solutions
Expansion of classroom space is a good thing, because it provides much needed learning space for students and faculty. Notwithstanding, facility plans that are adjusted on-the-fly may not always address capacity concerns in other areas of the school campus, such as:
• Administrative Offices
How can these areas be addressed to increase capacity alongside classrooms?
Modular classrooms can be built with gang restrooms accommodating the student capacity using the additional classroom space. Also, modular restrooms and locker rooms can be added to a school campus as standalone buildings, for those schools that already have temporary classrooms without restrooms.
Cafeteria space is not easily addressed when the existing space is not large enough to handle additional students on a school campus. Bottlenecking often happens in cafeterias, so lunches are staggered or other provisions are put in place to try to handle the increased volume of students. These efforts are not always completely effective, especially when you just have too many students for a single cafeteria and food preparation staff to accommodate. That being said, a modular cafeteria building can provide additional eating and food preparation space quickly and easily.
More students and faculty almost always means adding staff to a school. Offices, meeting rooms, break areas, and restrooms can become restrictive, affecting the schools ability to operate efficiently. Administrative space solutions are not easily found within an existing building and often require that modular buildings be added to the school campus to accommodate the additional staff.
Facility planners and managers, along with school officials, have an extremely difficult task of managing campus facilities to appropriately accommodate dynamic levels of students, staff, and faculty. With so many variables coming into play, temporary space is often the smart solution for a school’s space need. Reduced site disruption, construction speed, and quality are all modular classroom benefits spurring schools around the country to select temporary and permanent modular building solutions.
Why We Care
All of our education clients have come to Vanguard Modular for one reason, they need more space. We, at Vanguard Modular Building Systems, have served a lot of education clients over the past 2 decades, including public school systems, private schools, charter schools, and higher education institutions. Alleviating overcrowded conditions and providing temporary-swing space during construction projects, are two ways we can effectively help schools. It is our pleasure to help schools quickly add classrooms, offices, and specialty buildings on a temporary or permanent basis. We enjoy seeing students and faculty excited to have their new space, which creates a marked improvement over their previous learning environment.
About Vanguard Modular
Vanguard Modular Building Systems, LLC is a custom modular building dealer supplying temporary and permanent modular classrooms, offices, and specialty buildings to industries including: education, commercial, industrial, healthcare, energy, oil & gas, corrections, government, and more. Our experienced team is uniquely equipped to provide clients with tailored solutions that solve their individual temporary and permanent space needs. For convenience, we offer the flexibility of lease, purchase, and financing options.