4 Building Trends for K-12 Schools Today

The world of education is constantly changing, and so is the delivery of educational facilities in the K-12 realm. In the last 10 years, the Shockey team has built nearly 4 million square-feet of educational space.  Here are a few of the K-12 building trends we’ve identified for the coming years:

1. Lowest bid doesn’t mean best value.

Move over design-bid-build; there’s an emerging value option for school building projects. Once only available to the private sector and colleges and universities, the Construction Management at Risk (CM at Risk) delivery method gives school districts in Virginia more control over quality and price, allowing experience and best value to be considered, rather than simply lowest bid. Learn more about CM at Risk and the benefits of forming your building team early on.

2. Collaborative spaces spark student creativity.

At the heart of experiential learning environments are opportunities for creativity, collaboration, connection, and engagement. By deliberately building “in-between” spaces on school campuses that support child-centered, integrative activities, school systems are discovering smart approaches to use the spaces and interweave disciplines, extending learning well beyond the traditional classroom. The high-performance central corridor of Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Richmond is an excellent example of a space where exploratory learning is taking place.

3. Use what what you have. 

Repairs, upgrades, and expansions are the backbone of today’s education-related construction. The thoughtful repurposing of an existing building can beautifully support a school district’s curriculum programs while also increasing sustainability goals and reducing capital costs. Re-use projects can have exceptional outcomes, such as the renovation and expansion at John Handley High School, recently named by Architectural Digest as one of “The Most Beautiful Public High Schools” in America.

4. Don’t get caught up in the latest fads.

Creating meaningful buildings of lasting appeal is one of the smartest investments a school board can make. Our clients want educational buildings that function well and look good for decades, balancing strong design with responsiveness to the evolving nature of education. K-12 buildings are literally an investment in the future; they should have long-term aesthetic appeal, be durable, and be flexible as instructional methods evolve. School should also be able to adapt to lightning-fast changes in technology.

About Howard Shockey & Sons, Inc.

Shockey’s reputation, earned one project at a time, is for delivering excellent value, high quality craftsmanship, and unbeatable integrity. The 122-year-old general contracting and construction management firm is headquartered in Winchester, Virginia and provides preconstruction and construction services on a broad range of education, healthcare, institutional, civic, and industrial projects throughout the mid-Atlantic region, primarily in Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia. For more about Shockey, follow us at Twitter and LinkedIn.