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Status of school facilities and equipment in philippine education

Picus OVERVIEW An effective school facility is responsive to the changing programs of educational delivery, and at a minimum should provide a physical environment that is comfortable, safe, secure, accessible, well illuminated, well ventilated, and aesthetically pleasing.

The school facility consists of not only the physical structure and the variety of building systems, such as mechanical, plumbing, electrical and power, telecommunications, security, and fire suppression systems. The facility also includes furnishings, materials and supplies, equipment and information technology, as well as various aspects of the building grounds, namely, athletic fields, playgrounds, areas for outdoor learning, and vehicular access and parking.

The school facility is much more than a passive container of the educational process: The layout and design of a facility contributes to the place experience of students, educators, and community members. Depending on the quality of its design and management, the facility can contribute to a sense of ownership, safety and security, personalization and control, privacy as status of school facilities and equipment in philippine education as sociality, and spaciousness or crowdedness.

When planning, designing, or managing the school facility, these facets of place experience should, when possible, be taken into consideration. Constructing New Facilities During strategic long-range educational planning, unmet facility space needs often emerge.

The goal of educational planning is to develop, clarify, or review the educational mission, vision, philosophy, curriculum, and instructional delivery. Educational planning may involve a variety of school and community workshops and surveys to identify and clarify needs and sharpen the vision of the district. Long-range planning activities, such as demographic studies, financing options, site acquisitions, and community partnering opportunities are often initiated by the district administration as a response to the results of educational planning.

An outcome of long-range planning is the development status of school facilities and equipment in philippine education a comprehensive capital improvement program to address unmet facility needs. The district superintendent appoints a steering committee to oversee the details of the capital improvement program.

The responsibility of the steering committee includes the selection of various consultants, the review of planning and design options, and the reporting of recommendations to the school board for a final decision.

Depending on the needs of the district, one of the first tasks of the steering committee is to retain a variety of consultants. Educational and design consultants, financial consultants, bond counsels, investment bankers, and public relations consultants are retained to perform pre-referendum planning activities during which project scope, budget, financing, legal issues, and schedule are defined.

Once project feasibility is established, a public referendum package is developed and presented to the taxpaying public through public hearings. Upon passage of the public referendum, more detailed facility planning of the school can begin. An architect is often selected to assist in facility planning in cooperation with the educational planning consultant and in-house facility staff. The architect, in turn, negotiates contracts with a variety of consultants, including interior designers, landscape architects, mechanical, electrical, and civil engineers, and land surveyors.

The facility planning process at its best involves an assessment of functional needs in light of the educational program developed during educational planning. There are several names for this process: Educators refer to the development of educational specifications, while architects refer to it as facility programming. Facility planning includes any or all of the following activities: Spatial requirements and relationships between various program elements are established.

The outcome of the facility planning process is a public facility program, or educational specifications document, that outlines physical space requirements and adjacencies and special design criteria the school facility must meet.

The design phase of the process, which includes schematic design, design development, and construction documents and specifications, can last from six months to one year.

Each step in the design process involves more detailed and specific information about the technical aspects of the building systems, components, and assemblies. The design process requires school board decisions and approval, with each phase offering more detailed descriptions of the scope, budget, and schedule.

The products of this phase include sketches, drawings, models, and technical reports, which are shared with the school and community through public hearings, workshops, and other forms of public relations and community involvement. Community participation during the earliest stages of the design phase can be as critical for stakeholder support as it was in the educational planning process.

There are several construction delivery methods available to the school district: Each state has evolved its own laws regulating the acceptable forms of construction project delivery.

School Facilities - OVERVIEW, MAINTENANCE AND MODERNIZATION OF

Competitive bidding is still the most common form of construction delivery. It allows contractors in each trade, such as general, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing, to compete for individual prime contracts and form separate contracts with the school district.

In principle, it provides the most open and fair competition appropriate for a public sector project; however, project communication and coordination may ultimately affect schedule and budget. Cost and time savings are possible but often with a loss in quality of the product. Construction management is a service that often is established simultaneously with the hiring of the architect.

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  • Learning settings are being designed to support individualized, self-directed learning and small informal group learning, in addition to traditional large-group instruction;
  • Educational planning may involve a variety of school and community workshops and surveys to identify and clarify needs and sharpen the vision of the district;
  • Educational and design consultants, financial consultants, bond counsels, investment bankers, and public relations consultants are retained to perform pre-referendum planning activities during which project scope, budget, financing, legal issues, and schedule are defined;
  • The portion of the budget allotted for public education amounts to less than 15 percent.

A construction manager's responsibility is to act as project manager throughout the design and construction process, coordinating the project budget and schedule along the way. A fourth form of construction delivery is actually a comprehensive project management delivery service, which includes construction management but also extends from pre-referendum through occupancy and even facility management, offering one-stop shopping for facility development.

Large school districts that have multiple projects often contract with project management services. Project management firms offer a wide array of financial, legal, and construction services promising economies of scale. Following the competitive bidding process, the next phase of the school building process is that of bidding and negotiation. An Invitation for Bids is publicized to obtain bids from prime construction contractors.

Most states require the school district to accept the lowest responsible and responsive bidder. However, the school district reserves the right to reject all bids. Once low bids are accepted, the school district, as owner, negotiates a contract with each prime contractor. The architect represents the owner in the construction phase, but the contract and legal relationship is between the school district, as owner, and each prime contractor. The construction of the school can last from twelve to eighteen months, depending on the project scope, material selections, lead times for shipment to the site, weather, unforeseen subsurface site conditions, and a variety of other factors.

With the use of school buildings being tied to the school year schedule, project phasing is always an issue that needs to be addressed. Other factors that can escalate cost and slow the project are change orders to rectify unforeseen conditions or errors and omissions in the original construction documents. Once the architect is satisfied that the project is complete, a Certificate of Substantial Completion is issued and the owner can legally occupy the facility.

Facility Management While the planning, design, and construction of the school facility may take two to three years, the management of it will last the entire life cycle of the facility.

At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the mean age of a school building in the United States as forty-two years, with 28 percent of school buildings built before 1950.

Many of the building materials, furnishings, and equipment will not last half that long and will require constant upkeep, maintenance, and inevitable replacement to defer building obsolescence. The costs of managing school facilities have historically received much less attention than facility planning.

The percentage of the operating budget for the maintenance and management of school facilities has steadily decreased, creating a capital renewal crisis as a result of years of deferred maintenance at all levels of education.

Best practice requires that a comprehensive facility maintenance program be established and monitored by the school district. Responsibility for facility management is divided between the district office and the school site, with the principal being the primary administrator responsible for the day-to-day operation of the school, including custodial, food, and transportation services.

Custodians are typically hired by the school district but managed by the principal. Custodial staff is generally responsible for cleaning the building; monitoring the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems; and providing general maintenance of both building and grounds.

District staff is responsible for long-term maintenance programs and the procurement of outsourced services for specialized maintenance projects.

Several environmental quality issues have emerged over the past few decades, such as classroom acoustics, indoor air quality, water quality, energy conservation, and abatement of asbestos, radon, and other hazardous materials. Many of these issues require the services of facility consultants hired through the district. Other issues for the building-level administrator include safety and security, vandalism and threats, and acts of violence and terrorism. All of status of school facilities and equipment in philippine education functions must be conducted within a constantly changing set of government mandates, such as energy deregulation, accessibility guidelines, codes, and other regulations and guidelines at the state and federal levels.

In addition, schools are taking advantage of educational resources in the community, as well as partnering with museums, zoos, libraries, and other public institutions and local businesses.

Based on mounting evidence that smaller schools lead to improved social climate as well as better achievement, school leaders have begun to create smaller schools or have created schools within schools. The design of safe schools increasingly recognizes the desirability of providing natural, unobtrusive surveillance mechanisms, rather than installing checkpoints and security guards. Smaller scaled school buildings allow for both natural surveillance and territorial ownership, where students and teachers are on familiar terms, thereby decreasing the possibility that any one student is overlooked.

The self-contained classroom can no longer provide the variety of learning settings necessary to successfully support project-based, real-world authentic learning. Research indicates that smaller class size is a factor contributing to improved achievement. Learning settings are being designed to support individualized, self-directed learning and small informal group learning, in addition to traditional large-group instruction.

Rather than lining up classrooms along a long corridor, instructional areas are being organized around central cores of shared instructional support. A trend in the provision of professional space for teachers has emerged as well. Information technology is precipitating a variety of changes in the organizational and physical form of schools. With respect to instructional processes, technology is facilitating the movement toward project-based, self-directed learning and individualized instruction.

As learning becomes increasingly virtual, web-based, and wireless, it still must physically take place somewhere. As information technology is becoming ubiquitous, more schools are decentralizing technology throughout the school building and across the community. The trend toward smart buildings, or buildings that are designed and constructed to integrate the technologies of instruction, telecommunications, and building systems, will have increased responsiveness to occupant needs as well as the educational process.

Finally, because of the recognition that spending too much time in buildings can be detrimental not only to health but also to learning, school buildings will begin to connect more to the natural environment visually, aurally, and kinesthetically by including transitional indoor and outdoor learning spaces.

The construction and operation of a school building involves a substantial expenditure of public funds. The investment for construction, however, represents only a fraction of the cost of operating a school over the life of the building. When life-cycle costs of operating a school are considered including staff salaries and overhead costs, in addition status of school facilities and equipment in philippine education maintenance and operation of the facilitythe initial cost of the school facility may be less than 10 to 15 percent of the life-cycle costs over a thirty-year period.

Properly designing and constructing school buildings for the realities of management can often provide cost savings over time that could in turn status of school facilities and equipment in philippine education additional funds for education. Operational costs for power and fuel, water and sewer, garbage disposal, leases and insurance, building maintenance, and custodial staff are important items in the annual budget, competing yearly for funds identified for educational delivery.

Building life-cycle cost analysis is admittedly difficult for taxpayers and school boards to comprehend when available building funds are tight, but the rewards in effective facility management are potentially great.