The school I am currently at is going to be building a new purpose built school in three years time. We have just selected the architects to design the school and are now beginning the process of bringing all of the stakeholders together to talk about the design and function of the school.

I'm looking for any resources or feedback that may help us in this process. Do you have an opinion about school design? Do you know of any good resources, articles or websites that would help us as we begin to go through this design process.

Many thanks,


Tags: architects, design, new, school

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Wow! How exciting to be building a new school. Of course your design is going to be limited by the financial resources. But, there are some websites out there regarding design. I remember checking one out about a year and a half ago on comfort level (the room temperature) and the productivity of students.

In one of my graduate classes, we had to dream about our ideal classroom. Perhaps that is a good way to start. Put your dream together then worry about how much of your dream can come true.

Just last week, a few of us at my school visited another school. We were impressed with their 2nd and 3rd grade class. The classroom had a pit with theatre type seating. They used this area for class meetings and discussions. Their library had 4 levels with a "fire-fighter's pole" running from the top level to the ground. They also had a "dumb waiter" to send their books from one level to the next. Anyway, good luck and have fun designing your new purpose built school.
Do you have any pictures of this school or a link to their web site? We've been talking about similar ideas involving mini theatres and flexible work spaces. The issue of temperature also came up and whether this is controlled by the building or teachers in classes. This will also be influenced by the design of the building and if it is open plan.
The name of the school is Hana Hauoli their website: http://www.hanahauoli.org/ Check out the picture of their pit by going to their "About Us" then "Celebrations and Traditions."
I think the articles I read regarding the temperature was in ERIC.
A four story fire pole? That's about a 32 ft drop, probably onto a fairly solid floor surface.
It does not sound like a good idea to me.
JJC
John,
The library had 4 levels but wasn't 4 stories high. It was more like 2 stories high. They had lofts at niches. They also regulate it they have it roped off and only 2nd graders and up get to use it.
Sorry to be a worry wart, Cecelia,

It's just a parent thing!

Does anyone get to climb up the pole?

JJC
I like Cecelia's description of the fireman's pole and dumb waiter. I think it would be great if schools were designed out-of-the-box, to spark kids' imaginations, and make school a place they want to be. Writer Dave Eggers started an after-school writing program that does an amazing job of integrating design, imagination, and functionality. Maybe his tutoring centers will spark some ideas at your school (specifically, check out the 5-minute and 17-minute marks):

Andy,
The video that Katy shared was inspiring. It had some good ideas you might want to look at to make your school exciting. I liked the idea of the secret doors.

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