Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Schools Become Year-Round Community Centers

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Schools Become Year-Round Community Centers

Article excerpt

According to the July issue of "School & University" magazine, as many schools strive to return to their historical role as canters of the communities they serve, more administrators have embraced the idea of opening up their facilities for use by the general public. But when building or renovating recreational facilities for joint use, school officials should be aware of the design differences that might be needed for a space to be used effectively by both students and the community at large.

Gymnasiums might need to be larger, more durable fixtures and equipment will be needed to handle greater use, additional office space and parking might be required, separate locker rooms for students and the community might be necessary, and the location of the facility should allow the rest of the school building to be sealed off from public access.

In 1998, the U.S. Department of Education's National Symposium on School Design identified six principles for designing better schools.:

1. Enhance teaching and learning and accommodate the needs of all learners.

* Follow the research in the learning sciences

* Students doing rather than just receiving

* Students creating rather than recreating

* Students solving problems

* Cooperative, project based, interdisciplinary learning

* Emphasis on learning styles, multiple intelligences and the special needs of each student

* School buildings are important tools for learning

* Accelerate research on the impact of he physical environment on student achievement

2. Serve as center of the community.

* School as community

* Encourage community use after hours, late at night and on weekends

* Serve as centers of lifelong learning and training

* Serve leisure, recreational, wellness needs of the community

* Facilitate public access to communications technology

* Facilitate parent and community involvement

* Support professionalism and participation of staff members

* Reflect the noble character of public architecture

* Community as school--extend learning environments throughout the whole community

* Learning community

3. …

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