10 Important Things to Consider Before Your Next BCS
The National Council for School Facilities, the U.S. Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools, and 21st Century-Funds have reported that the U.S. spending gap on schools is $46 billion a year. This number reflects the disparity between what is being spent and what needs to be spent to improve outdated facilities, deferred maintenance, and to keep up with educational requirements. As shocking as this number is, one way for schools to help close the gap is to start utilizing their Building Condition Surveys (BCS) as a tool to implement their long-term goals.
As a state-mandated requirement that all schools must perform every 5 years, Building Condition Surveys often get looked at as just another routine item that needs to get checked off the to-do list when it comes time. However, instead of looking at it like another task, see it as an opportunity to be proactive about maintaining your campus, which in turn can spark holistic ideas that add to the big picture for your district.
The lack of investment in a school’s infrastructure directly affects a student’s well-being and opportunities to learn. Not only do these investments improve the lives of students, they help prevent unnecessary spending in the future, such as paying to replace an entire room that was flooded when the roof could have been replaced a year prior. The American Society of Civil Engineers has stated that over a 1/4 of U.S. public schools are in “fair or poor condition”. However, infrastructure isn’t the only concern that schools have. Curriculums in schools have changed drastically since the days of traditional education. With these changes, more and more schools are seeing the need to rethink their facilities. Your BCS not only provides a great opportunity to analyze your own school and discuss whether or not it is up to modern pedagogy standards, but also what steps will be necessary to get it there.
While the quickest route to completing your Building Condition Survey is to just run through the State Education Department’s checklist, it’s not in your school district’s best interest to do so. Get the most out of your next BCS by taking the time to have some internal conversations as the first step to find out what needs your school, as a whole, may have. Now is the time to share your big picture with your architect so that while they are surveying, they use their creativity to apply your vision to get ideas for planning.
Before you embark on your next BCS, here is a list of questions that you should consider first:
What are three things that are important to your school’s community?
What educational theories does your district strive for and want to promote, e.g., behavior, constructiveness, connectivity?
What is the Superintendent’s or Curriculum Director’s vision or long-term goal? Are there any “Big Picture” ideas that you would like to implement?
Do you have any sustainability or energy goals that you would like your school to achieve?
What input have you received from teachers pertaining to their needs?
What changes do you want, or see the need for, to support departments that could use attention, e.g., athletics, special education, performing arts?
Is there anything you know that is damaged or not working properly with your building? Could it be due to a larger issue?
Is your enrollment increasing or decreasing? Will this require consolidation of schools?
Is there a need or desire to enhance the security in your school? If so, what are some things you have in mind?
What logistical issues, if any, do you face when it comes to drop off and pick up (bus/parents)?
To help you get the conversation started, we’ve created a helpful checklist of our Top 10 Considerations Before Your Next Building Condition Survey that you can download by for free by clicking the button below.
Think of your next Building Condition Survey (BCS) as a proactive tool to help implement big picture ideas while also at the same time helping you budget appropriately for future expenditures. By doing some pre-preparation in finding out what needs your school has using our checklist, you can make a big difference on how impactful your next BCS can be in terms of fulfilling your school’s long-term goals.