Architecture for Humanity announced their strategic partnership with the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The announcement comes in conjunction with today’s release of the Center for Green Schools 2013 State of our Schools Report, which calls for the federal government to commission the first comprehensive study of our nation’s school facilities needs in 18 years. Together the two groups hope to join others in eliminating our nation’s deferred school maintenance bill through implementation of school improvement projects, addressing financing and providing tools to educators. The report estimates that $271 billion is needed to bring existing school buildings up to code – double that amount if we are to modernize schools - and that further research is needed to clarify how and where this investment should be targeted.
About 50 million students attend nearly 100,000 public elementary and secondary schools across the United States. One in four students – at least ten million students – attends class in a school with inadequate facilities. Research links the physical quality of school buildings to the health, wellbeing and academic performance of students and school staff.
“Too often, school districts are faced with choosing between funding instruction or fixing their facilities. This shouldn’t be an either/or choice. As a result, our schools fall into disrepair and the overall health and academic performance of our students suffers,” says Gretchen Mokry, Studio Director at Architecture for Humanity.
The Center for Green Schools and Architecture for Humanity joined forces in 2012 as part of a collaborative effort to create and apply resources that show how communities can make high impact building improvements in their schools.
“At the core of our partnership is the belief that where we learn matters. A new federal study of our school buildings will inform how we can work together to strategically address our country’s most pressing school facility challenges, so that our schools enhance a student’s ability to learn, a teacher’s to teach,” added Rachel Gutter, director of the Center for Green Schools.
To further address America’s public school building improvements crisis, in April 2013, the Center for Green Schools and Architecture for Humanity will release the Healthy Schools Investment Guide, a free online resource. The guide aims to help all school stakeholders - including school administrators and elected officials, staff, students, parents and businesses - to understand how they can work together to implement building retrofits that make a real difference in the quality of their learning environments.
The State of Our Schools Report can be downloaded here (www.centerforgreenschools.org/stateofschools).