Schools for the Future and How to Build Them

The State’s 21st Century School Commission heard expert testimony this week on innovative school designs and the costs of school construction.

Presentations included:

  • Classrooms of the Future from Victoria Bergsagel, Architects of Achievement and Mary Filardo, 21st Century School Fund
  • The Cost of School Construction
    • Comparison of Conventional School Facilities and the Monarch Global Academy and a School Facility Cost Containment Study from Alex Szachnowicz, P.E., Chief Operating Officer, Anne Arundel County Public Schools and David Lever, former Executive Director of the IAC
    • Case Study Analysis of Alternative Approaches to School Construction from Gary McGuigan, Maryland Stadium Authority and Jay Brinson, City School Partners o Will Mangrum, City School Partners

Bergsagel’s presentation was delivered via Skype from the West Coast. She featured several examples of innovative school design throughout the world that enhance students’ learning experiences by:

  • creating connections between the school’s location (genus loci),
  • bringing children into nature as part of the curriculum,
  • modular designs that allow for different interactions between students and teachers,
  • creative designs that create a joyful learning setting,
  • tech-focused learning that takes advantage of local industries.

Filardo spoke about the potential for use of school spaces for a variety of needs in the community, especially as the country’s population ages. She described the possibilities for schools to host:

  • daycare
  • job training
  • meals and exercise for older adults

To better pursue multi-use schools in this way, Filardo advised improving the ability to make intergovernmental agreements and to reconsider the design of schools with these potential uses in mind.

Szachnowicz described how Anne Arundel County had used public-private partnerships to meet increasing enrollments in two areas of the county. Through partnership with Greenberg Gibbons Commercial Corp., the school system added a 12-room addition to Meade High School to accommodate and influx of students from BRAC. In another part of the county, the school system contracted with The Children’s Guild to build and operate a school for a fifteen year term for K-7th grade students.

For more information about each presentation at the Commission, watch the video of the meeting and review the meeting’s materials.

The next meeting of the 21st Century School Facilities Commission will be held on September 15, 2016. The subject of the meeting will be “Needs of Facilities to Meet Needs of Students.”