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School Design

Over the next ten years, thousands of schools will need to be built, and even more will need to be renovated in order to respond to rising enrollments and to repair aging schools. New and renovated schools will need to last for many years and will leave a lasting legacy throughout the 21st century. It is crucial that parents, teachers, and a broad range of community members are actively involved in the planning and design of the new schools and renovation projects, so that schools of the 21st century are truly centers of community.

  • Schools as Centers of Community: A Citizen's Guide For Planning and Design [PDF] (1.3MB): This detailed guide outlines the six principles for designing and planning new schools that grew out of the National Symposium on School Design held in October of 1998. With thousands of new schools now being built all across the country, now is the time for parents and other citizens to be part of the design process. This helpful guide provides citizens with ten exciting examples of innovative school designs and outlines a step-by-step process about how parents, citizens and community groups can get involved in designing new schools.

  • National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities: Created in 1997, the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities (NCEF) is an information resource for people who plan, design, build, operate and maintain K-12 schools. Disclaimer
  • Schools for the 21st Century [PDF and Powerpoint]: This Power Point Presentation provides the latest statistical information on students and schools, describes the history of education from a school facility view point, and identifies the characteristics of the 21st Century School.
  • Alternative Use of K-12 School Buildings: Opportunities for Expanded Uses (January 2000) explains how existing school facilities, in most cases, offer significant opportunities to satisfy not only the unmet learning needs of all learners, but also the social and recreational needs for all of the community. The article explores the advantages and the disadvantages of expanding the use of K-12 school facilities beyond the 7-hour weekday, and it provides links to additional information on schools and school districts that have expanded the traditional use of their facilities.
  • Nine School Design Examples: This document describes nine unique examples of communities working together to design and modernize schools. These schools were highlighted at the National Symposium on School Design in October, 1998.
  • 3/26/99 Secretary Riley's Speech on Schools as Centers of Community: The Secretary's remarks at the Conference on Full Service School-Community Collaboration.
  • Building Better Schools Week, August 21-28, 2000: In light of the enrollment growth described in the Baby Boom Echo Report, many communities throughout the United States face an urgent need for school modernization, renovation and repair to accommodate rising enrollments. This need for school construction and modernization is felt by urban, suburban, and rural schools alike, and by communities in all regions of the country. In an effort to emphasize this growing need, the week of August 21-28, 2000, was deemed Building Better Schools Week.
  • 6/16/98 Satellite Town Meeting on School Design: At this town meeting, entitled "Designs for Learning: Building Schools for the 21st Century," Secretary Riley spoke with educators and community leaders in Charlotte, North Carolina about how communities can plan and build schools for tomorrow.


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Last Updated -- June 26, 2000 (pjk)