WHEN the public-school bells ring, 30 million youthful Americans respond. This army of young people--more than one- fifth of the Nation--receive their education in structures ranging from little, antiquated one-room schoolhouses to huge, complex buildings containing auditoriums, gymnasiums, laboratories, shops, and cafeterias as well as classrooms.
A few years ago America faced an acute shortage of school facilities. Since two out of every five schools in the country had been built before the turn of the century, a large number of the buildings were obsolescent. Many of these were unsafe, unsanitary, and dangerously susceptible to fire. Others, in addition, failed to provide for recreation, vocational education,