New Mexico educational councils have recently focused a lot of attention toward upgrading our state’s school facilities and technologies. These projects and improvements have been exciting for the future of our students. As technology evolves, air quality standards rise, and educational methods change, it’s important to continue investing in infrastructure upgrades. This will make sure we can responsibly support both current and future generations of students.
Research shows that the quality of a school facility is a major predictor of student learning and teacher retention. As facilities age, it’s important to prioritize maintaining and updating for safety and health so students and teachers thrive.
Updating educational facilities is more than just repairing roofing and repainting walls. Research has shown that many factors in a building strongly affect students’ abilities to learn well.
Quieter classrooms produce higher levels of student engagement and achievement. Quality building design and updates can reduce the amount of sound coming into classrooms from the outdoors or nearby.
For students with asthma, poor air quality is a big reason for absenteeism. The EPA names indoor air pollution “among the top five environmental risks to public health.” Indoor air quality is often much worse than outdoor air quality. And since the COVID-19 pandemic, more attention and priority have been placed on cleaner indoor air. Exceptional ventilation systems are becoming the standard for schools.
It may not be obvious, but lighting has a huge impact on student success. Studies have shown that higher amounts of natural lighting produce higher test scores and less distraction. Good building design and structural updates can take this into account to create optimal learning environments. UNM Taos College Pathways to Careers Center incorporates large windows to blend and blur the lines between the built and natural environments.
There are ideal temperature ranges for the best learning. But older HVAC systems aren’t always able to keep an entire facility at the same temperature. Updating these systems will help eliminate cold and hot spots so learning can be effective. UNM Taos College Pathways to Careers Center, for example, includes custom smart temperature controls that allow individuals to set preferences within their space.
Research has shown that having the right ratio of students to classroom space decreases aggression and increases engagement. Modern teaching methods need enough space to let students work in teams to solve problems and learn together. Strategically-sized learning centers and private spaces to study can help students develop and achieve more by reducing distractions and interruptions. Our CNM Art Building Renovation at Ken Chappy Hall project reorganized space and emphasized flexibility/adaptability to future needs.
With more recent federal attention on school infrastructure, there are lots of resources for guidance on moving forward. Here are some things educational administrators can do to continue the momentum:
Franken Construction has decades of experience in building design and renovation. And we’ve received awards for many school building projects. We recognize the importance of school design, and we’re dedicated to delivering high-quality projects within budget. We would love to work with you and continue to make New Mexico schools better for students.