Schools throughout Iowa, Nebraska and the rest of the country are being modernized and updated at an increasing rate. Many were built during the baby boom or shortly after, and are in dire need of renovation. But that begs the question—is modernizing a school worth it? Does the added cost pay off in the end?
Modernization Improves the Internal Environment
Who remembers going to school in August or May without air conditioning? Or being cold sitting by the window in class during the winter? In aging schools, these are common problems. Energy efficiency has improved significantly over the last several decades, and modern building materials are more resistant to ambient temperature fluctuations.
Moreover, when schools are modernized, not only does thermal comfort improve, but air flow and quality can be addressed, acoustics can be better managed to keep distracting noises down, and modern designs can incorporate larger windows and more natural light than older schools generally do.
Renewed Sense of Pride
In addition to just improving the learning environment, studies have shown that students and faculty are prouder to go to a modernized school building. The physical environment has a huge impact on morale, mood, and students’ ability to concentrate.
Faculty are more engaged in a modern school and generally feel they have more of the tools they need to prepare their students for future success. Everyone wants to feel good in their work environment, and modern schools result in more satisfied faculty and staff and can ultimately reduce turnover.
Modernization Supports New Curriculum and Teaching Methods
Curriculum and teaching methods have changed significantly over the last 20 to 30 years. Outdated classrooms can make experiential and peer-to-peer learning difficult. Older classrooms also aren’t inspiring for students and often times don’t project a welcoming or safe environment, all of which are critical to learning.
Collaborative learning and working in teams require a modern, modular classroom to be effective and to set students and teachers up for success. Additionally, as more curriculum goes digital and teachers serve as facilitators for individualized learning via tablets and other digital devices, a modern classroom is a necessity.
Technology Updates Broaden Learning Opportunities
No K12 school modernization would be complete without updated technology. One of the biggest benefits of a renovation that supports modern tech is that students can explore multiple ways to learn. Classrooms can be rethought to allow for interactive learning or self-paced courses.
Access to an updated school and modern technology allows students to explore the best way for them to learn, and ultimately leads to a higher engagement and success rate for the school district.
Modern schools not only provide improvements for students and teachers, but ultimately, stronger schools set those students up for greater success. And that is one of the building blocks of stronger communities.