What do school facilities and mission statements have in common? You as maintenance leaders creating optimal learning environments to prepare students to be the next generation of leaders, as Jim Whittaker stated in our recent webinar, Healthy and Safe Schools: Impact on the Learning Environment.
Jim Whittaker is past Chair on the Board of Directors for the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), President and CEO of Facility Engineering Associates, and a Facilities Management expert. Jim shared his insight on how to improve facilities to improve student learning to hundreds of educational institutions on SchoolDude’s recent webinar. Access the full recording.
Here is a brief recap of what he covered:
First, the challenges for school facilities are mounting. With school buildings on average 42 years old and at a whopping D+ for infrastructure, according to America’s Infrastructure Report Card, deferred maintenance and dollars for capital renewals grow larger day-by-day.
However, research shows facilities matter. Study after study proves test scores improve with better facility conditions, as much as 5% per student. Jim covered ample research studies showing additional effects of facilities on student achievement, health and behavior.
Older facilities face many issues that impact students. A few Jim highlighted on our webinar include:
- Technology demands not intended when schools were built, such as technology infrastructure needs for WiFi, flexible floor plans, and mobile learning tools
- Temperature and humidity conditions not ideal for learning
- Unreliability of building systems leading to partial or full shut downs of buildings
- Design aspects that impact noise and poor lighting
- Need for improved security
...Just to name a few. An improved indoor environment and air quality can help everyone, but especially children who are more susceptible to infection than adults.
So, what can facilities leaders do to help our students? Jim discussed several solutions to better align the facilities department with schools’ mission. Facilities leaders can address facilities age by attacking the backlog of deferred maintenance. This is possible with performance measurement and technologies in place to achieve your goals and implement sustainable models.
To hear more detail on how to implement performance measurement plans, watch the recording now.