The results are in! According to the School Planning & Management 2005 Construction Report, more than $20 billion worth of school construction was completed in 2004, with districts planning to start another $18.3 billion worth of work in the year 2005. The increasing student population, shifts in enrollment and our aging infrastructure guarantee that this building boom will not end there. While it is important that we continue to fund the construction and renovation of our educational facilities, it is just as important that these funds are spent wisely. With this in mind, we have listed a number of publications that focus on planning, design, maintenance and operations. Hopefully, they will come in handy when it’s time to plan your next school.

Creating Connections – CEFPI’s Guide for Planning Educational Facilities

Developed by the Council of Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI), the guide focuses on the various aspects of progressive school planning and the importance of creating connections among all the constituents involved in the planning process. Topics include: School Improvement Planning; The Master Planning Process; Establishing a Vision Techniques for Gathering Data; Developing Educational Standards; Educational Specifications; Community and Smart Growth Planning Processes and Partnerships; Finance; Technology Planning; Maintenance and Operations; Occupancy and Post Occupancy; and Creating and Maintaining Connections.

Schools for Successful Communities: An Element of Smart Growth

The U.S. EPA and CEFPI cooperatively developed this publication that explains why and how communities should employ smart growth planning principles to build schools that better serve and support students, staff, parents and the entire community. When school districts collaborate with city leaders to incorporate smart growth principles in the master facility planning process, the community benefits socially and economically.

The Planning Guide for Maintaining School Facilities

The Planning Guide for Maintaining Schools is designed for staff at the local school district level where most facility maintenance is planned, managed and carried out. This publication is a product of the National Cooperative Education Statistics System and was produced by the collaborative efforts between the National Forum on Education Statistics and the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO). The document offers recommendations on the following important issues: School Facilities Maintenance Planning; Facilities Audits (Knowing What You Have); Providing a Safe Environment for Learning; Maintaining School Facilities and Grounds; Effectively Managing Staff and Contractors; and Evaluating Facilities Maintenance Efforts.

Another valuable resource for those planning new schools is the National Clearinghouse on Educational Facilities (NCEF). Created in 1997 by the U.S. Department of Education, the NCEF is a free public service that provides information on planning, designing, funding, building, improving and maintaining schools. In addition to a comprehensive resource list, NCEF funds and produces various publications on school facilities. Some of their most recent publications are listed below.

Need Space? School-Facility Public-Private Partnerships: An Assessment of Alternative Financing Arrangements.

Examines a variety of options for public-private partnerships in school facilities financing. Methods of structuring the debt and partnering for construction are illustrated with case studies. Issues with state and local governments are cited, along with ideas for creative occupancy partnerships and the prudent management of facilities created by these partnerships.

Do School Facilities Affect Academic Outcomes?

Examines facility attributes that most affect academic outcomes and in what manner and degree. The research is examined in six categories: indoor air quality, ventilation and thermal comfort; lighting; acoustics; building age and quality; school size; and class size.

School Building Assessment Methods

Addresses whether schools and classroom spaces enhance or detract from the learning process and provides school assessment guidelines for communities anticipating the expansion of existing schools or the construction of new ones. It provides survey and discussion tools that encourage stakeholders to discover and reflect upon the physical features of school buildings, and identify what works and what doesn’t.

Schools as Centers of Community: A Citizens' Guide For Planning and Design (second edition)

Written by Steven Bingler, Linda Quinn and Kevin Sullivan in cooperation with NCEF, KnowledgeWorks Foundation, CEFPI, Building Educational Success Together and Coalition for Community Schools. This book outlines a process intended to engage all educational stakeholders in planning schools that more adequately address the needs of the whole learning community. It explores six design principles for creating effective learning environments, provides 13 case studies that illustrate various aspects of the six design principles and examines the facilities master planning process for getting started and organized.