There’s more to it than a lick of paint and a few bits of furniture and new carpet. There are a whole host of reasons your school or college is ready for a refurbishment. From overflowing classrooms to soaring energy bills, here’s 8 telltale signs you need a school refurbishment.
1. There Are Issues Even The Untrained Eye Can Spot
It seemed to make most sense to start with the obvious. If your school or college building has reached the point where those who don’t work in the industry can see things that need refurbishing; it’s time.
Do all doors and windows work easily and securely? Are a growing number of students complaining of wobbly desks and chairs? Is corridor carpet threadbare at major junction points? Is the back of the classroom and staff office more of a storage area and staff have to negotiate using space for marking?
If you can see these things in your building, it sounds like it’s time for a refurbishment.
2. Your Maintenance Team Is Snowed Under
Leading on from spotting issues yourself, it may be worth taking a minute to look at your facility maintenance team’s to-do-list and how often it is being added to.
Items such as renewal of high-traffic flooring and furniture should be a planned cost – but how often are you undergoing them and what is having to be forsaken in order to make them happen? Be it either in terms of budget or time to implement the change over?
If your team is too busy to undertake planned maintenance work, that could point to there being an underlying issue. At the same time, it may just be that an external company can come in to manage the planned work.
3. The Temperature Is Never Right
Whilst your heritage building may be a major USP when it comes to enrolling new students each summer, it could also be the reason that your energy bills are draining away so much of your yearly spend.
A refurbishment can take many forms. Beyond furniture renewal or cosmetic changes, it could be that your school or college actually needs some work to the mechanics of the building itself. Intelligent heating and lighting can seem costly to install but it offers life-cycle savings.
As do some more subtle changes. Adding, removing or altering corridor doors can change the way a space is heated in winter and cooled in summer, for example. Inefficient and out-of-date heating systems can be more costly than it needs to be too.
A refurbishment of these features can save in the long run.
4. And There’s A Lack Of Natural Light
We have worked with plenty of commercial clients to add natural light to their workspaces, due to the many benefits this brings in terms of morale and productivity.
Building-in better placed windows, light-tubes and roof-lights are an obvious way of harnessing sunlight inside your classrooms. Installation of intelligently designed lighting is another way of making the building a brighter place to be without making it feel artificial.
Enclosed spaces can still utilise natural light.
5. Parents And Students Ask About Technology
Open events and parent consultation evenings are a great chance to get feedback from fresh pairs of eyes. Sometimes, being in a building every day can make you blind to what actually needs improving.
Visiting parents will have viewed other establishments in your area and worked in different environments themselves. If you are able to strike up conversations which are open and productive, try to get feedback about how they and your students view the facilities. You could also ask for anonymous survey sheets to be filled out.
However, if you notice that parents and prospective students are asking, “And will the school be getting those new X like at so-and-so across town?” It might be time to refurbish your work areas and equipment.
6. Storage And PPA Space Is An Issue
Having teachers exist solely in their own classroom can lead to poor school cohesion and staff morale. But many schools and colleges are unable to offer suitable PPA space due to storage issues. Staffroom or office desks are filled with supplies, coursework and work to be marked. So lunch is eaten on knees or in isolation at the class desk – where it is far too tempting to also do a bit of work. This is just one thing that leads to poor teacher morale.
Often a lot of this can be alleviated through proper storage systems being in place and by configuring room layouts to allow designated PPA workspace and lunch or break time “chill-out” space.
7. Classrooms Aren’t Adaptable And Feel Out-Of-Date
Teaching methods change with the times, but buildings obviously can’t. Apart from, actually, they can.
Well chosen furniture, storage equipment and resources can mean that a classroom can be set up in a number of ways and can even be used to boost positive behaviour during lessons. Also, schools need to design the layout of their classrooms around their teaching methods – not the space of a building which was designed for teaching x-number of decades ago.
If room sizes, location and layout are an issue you may want to look at changing this as part of a refurbishment.
8. There’s A Mismatch Between Pupil Numbers And Classroom Sizes
The tastes, goals and interests of learners in your area change with the times. As do the courses you may be offering. This can mean that subjects which were once quite niche can become popular – and vice versa.
The needs of the classroom for each subject can change too. Expressive and creative subjects might flourish in an open space and mathematicians might benefit from being free of the distraction.
In short, just because a certain subject has always taken place in that room doesn’t mean it needs to stay that way. Yet, moving it to a bigger classroom means moving it away from its wider curriculum area and isn’t an ideal solution either.
Alternatively, moving the internal walls can bring any building up-to-date. Installing moving-walls and dry lining partition walls means that the new layout is also future proofed so you don’t need to worry about your needs changing again in the future.
Get The Full Guide To Refurbishments
These are just a few of the more obvious reasons your building might be in need of a refurb. But there are others. And there are other options too.
This free guide will help you understand exactly what it is in your building that works and also what doesn’t. It includes an explanation of the options available to you and printable question sheets so you can ask the right questions of staff, students and regular visitors.