Tag Archives: school

The Noah Webster Schools Pima Campus, completed in August, is a charter academy that has made use of the increasingly popular site-adapt trend.

The new class of schools

An apple a day may keep a student in a teacher’s good graces, but there’s more to a healthy learning environment than fruit.

It’s no secret that many school districts have had to do more with less funding and fewer employees. With a rapidly changing learning environment — one with Wi-Fi in every classroom — and one that needs to accommodate more students and shift with the times, construction companies are being called upon to help schools transition into the future while surviving the present.

McCarthy Building Companies is one such contractor that has been using site-adapt approaches to its new school buildings. The approach includes adapting existing school designs to fit a district’s needs. This method reduces design time and allows for construction to occur on an aggressive timeline, says Steve Poulin, project director for McCarthy Building Companies’ educational services.

Riggs elementary school: constructed using similar design prototypes. McCarthy Building Companies and Hda Architects are currently working on a similar site-adapt project in Chandler.

Riggs elementary school: constructed using similar design prototypes. McCarthy Building Companies and Hda Architects are currently working on a similar site-adapt project in Chandler.

For example, McCarthy is working with HDA Architects on a 91KSF K-6 elementary school in Chandler modeled after the city’s Riggs and Carlson elementary schools. This is an increasingly common trend in burgeoning communities, such as Chandler and Gilbert.

Chasse Building is seeing the same trends in Deer Valley and Scottsdale, says Chasse Building Team Project Manager Jeremy Keck.

Chasse’s Deer Valley Elementary School No. 30 is adapted from two previously built schools — Stetson Hills and Norterra Elementary. Site-adapts aren’t a novel concept, points out HDA Architects Principal Pete Barker.

“The original concept for this school configuration took place in the late ‘80s. That is literally how long we have been adapting and re-using this design,” he says.

Carlson elementary school: constructed using similar design prototypes. McCarthy Building Companies and Hda Architects are currently working on a similar site-adapt project in Chandler.

Carlson elementary school: constructed using similar design prototypes. McCarthy Building Companies and Hda Architects are currently working on a similar site-adapt project in Chandler.

Barker estimates that site-adapt designs save a developer about 1 to 2 percent in design costs as a percentage of the construction cost. Poulin adds that the real impact for efficient designs, for the school district, comes in maintenance and operation costs.

“Overall, districts employing the site adapt are seeing improvements on their operations and maintenance budgets and time costs are reduced,” says Poulin. “Permitting on a new design can be substantial, and cutting this to closer to three or four months saves the district (money and time). In addition, when the primary requirement by the district is to decide on minor changes to a design they are familiar with, there is less required on their end, allowing the owner more time to focus on education.”

Working with similar structures, he adds, means construction teams are able to work efficiently on more aggressive timelines. Some of the most common changes to the schools include using metal roofs instead of clay, air-cool chillers in central, on-site plants and concrete parking lots and interior flooring. Concrete floors can be wet mopped and don’t need to be waxed.

GOING OLD SCHOOL
Cities with rising populations are turning to renovations and introducing new systems that require lower operating costs. High-efficiency HVAC systems have become more affordable over time and many schools are investing in LED lighting.

“Many schools in use today are well past their life span and the technology with green building practices have accelerated this life cycle,” says Chasse’s Keck. Keck has seen a lot of construction going on in Scottsdale. As more rooftops rise, so does the need for schools. Case in point, homebuilder Taylor Morrison donated 15 acres to the Liberty Elementary School District so it could build a school near its newest housing development, Las Brisas in Goodyear, Ariz.

Some of these schools Keck is referring to start from scratch, built into a neighborhood, for instance. However, renovations are also popular. Lighting and HVAC retrofits, for instance. The complexity of retrofitting a school, Keck says, depends on the project. Some require a bit more creativity than others. He recalls a school Chasse Building worked on for the Catholic Dioceses that used a nearby natural well’s water to cool the school. Schools constructed in the 1950s, though, such as Mohave Middle School in Scottsdale, look so tired, Keck says, that at the end of the day demolishing the low-ceiling, single-pane window facilities is the best option.

Creative design elements include multi-purpose rooms. Keck says that gymnasiums and cafeterias tend to be a single space in new designs. He points out that many schools also use off-site locations for food preparation, while its kitchen is more of a warming and serving space.

“When students are in a nice environment and daylight and fresh air, (administrators) see better classroom performance,” says Keck. There is also an emphasis on bringing outside learning to a K-12 campus. Chasse’s Deer Valley Elementary School No. 30, which broke ground in August, has three interior courtyard spaces that can be used for instruction. The Greater Hearts Academy – Cicero Campus, completed in July, has an outdoor amphitheater in its courtyard.

CHARTERING NEW WATERS
The Noah Webster Schools Pima Campus, completed in August, and Paideia Academy of South Phoenix, completed about two years ago, are charter schools adapted from a Ken Harris Architecture design. Adolfson & Peterson worked with Fairfield Architects to modify the original design.

“The site-adapt approach saved time and costs associated with design while still allowing for the customization of finishes unique to the school,” says Michael Schroeder, Adolfson & Peterson’s marketing director. This was particularly important for the Noah Webster Schools, which is constructed on tribal land and needed to adhere to standards set by the Salt River Pima Indian Community. The 51KSF school was completed in seven months.

Many are moving into big box retail or industrial spaces. Typically, a charter school is smaller than most K-12 buildings. Traditional schools are also known for having playgrounds, basketball courts and recreational spaces as well as a bus system. When schools are built into a shopping center, the issue of drop-off and pick-up can be tricky, Keck warns. However, repurposing these spaces, despite being a new challenge dependent on location, may get easier with time. Chasse’s Great Hearts Academy is based on a prototype established by two new school sites this year.

online

Closing the digital divide for Arizona students

Arizona students are back in class and in addition to notebooks and lunch boxes, some parents are packing smartphones or tablets in their kid’s backpacks. Some school districts are even requesting that kids bring their own technology to school to enhance their learning.

A recent Pew Internet & American Life study found that more than 80 percent of teachers agree that today’s digital technologies are leading to greater disparities between affluent and disadvantaged schools and school districts. When 76 percent of teachers assign online homework, teachers increasingly find themselves in the difficult position of either leaving behind students without Internet at home or holding back the other “connected students.”

What is truly troubling is that many kids throughout Arizona, even those with Internet-enabled smartphones and tablets, have no access to Internet in their homes. While the majority of Arizona homes have access to a broadband connection in their neighborhood, due to cost, some economically challenged families choose not to connect in their homes. Internet access and digital literacy are essential for today’s students to succeed and ensure that they have the tools to compete in our 21st century workforce.

Connect2Compete (C2C) was created by community leaders, the private sector and foundations to bridge the digital divide to ensure affordable access to the Internet for low-income families. As the largest Internet provider in Arizona, and a company that has a strong history of supporting broadband adoption through programs such as the Boys and Girls Clubs technology centers, it was a natural for Cox Communications to be part of this effort to ensure that affordable Internet access is available to those students most at risk of falling through the digital divide.

While the main goal of C2C is to improve student engagement and increase graduation rates, it also benefits other members of the household. Just consider this – in the U.S. today, more than 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies post their job openings online only and require online applications – the same is true at Cox Communications.

So how does it work? Families who have at least one child enrolled in the national free school lunch program are eligible for low-cost access to high-speed Internet through Connect2Compete. A consortium of hardware and software partners provide low-cost computers and digital literacy training, and Cox Communications provides a two-year commitment of Internet service for $9.95 a month, free installation and a free modem rental.

Cox Communications believes that all kids in Arizona deserve to have the same tools for learning and Connect2Compete is one important way we can do our part. For more information, visit connect2compete.org/cox/.

 

Susan Anable is the vice president of public affairs for Cox Communications Arizona and is the mother of two school-aged children.

online

Closing the digital divide for Arizona students

Arizona students are back in class and in addition to notebooks and lunch boxes, some parents are packing smartphones or tablets in their kid’s backpacks. Some school districts are even requesting that kids bring their own technology to school to enhance their learning.

A recent Pew Internet & American Life study found that more than 80 percent of teachers agree that today’s digital technologies are leading to greater disparities between affluent and disadvantaged schools and school districts. When 76 percent of teachers assign online homework, teachers increasingly find themselves in the difficult position of either leaving behind students without Internet at home or holding back the other “connected students.”

What is truly troubling is that many kids throughout Arizona, even those with Internet-enabled smartphones and tablets, have no access to Internet in their homes. While the majority of Arizona homes have access to a broadband connection in their neighborhood, due to cost, some economically challenged families choose not to connect in their homes. Internet access and digital literacy are essential for today’s students to succeed and ensure that they have the tools to compete in our 21st century workforce.

Connect2Compete (C2C) was created by community leaders, the private sector and foundations to bridge the digital divide to ensure affordable access to the Internet for low-income families. As the largest Internet provider in Arizona, and a company that has a strong history of supporting broadband adoption through programs such as the Boys and Girls Clubs technology centers, it was a natural for Cox Communications to be part of this effort to ensure that affordable Internet access is available to those students most at risk of falling through the digital divide.

While the main goal of C2C is to improve student engagement and increase graduation rates, it also benefits other members of the household. Just consider this – in the U.S. today, more than 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies post their job openings online only and require online applications – the same is true at Cox Communications.

So how does it work? Families who have at least one child enrolled in the national free school lunch program are eligible for low-cost access to high-speed Internet through Connect2Compete. A consortium of hardware and software partners provide low-cost computers and digital literacy training, and Cox Communications provides a two-year commitment of Internet service for $9.95 a month, free installation and a free modem rental.

Cox Communications believes that all kids in Arizona deserve to have the same tools for learning and Connect2Compete is one important way we can do our part. For more information, visit connect2compete.org/cox/.

 

Susan Anable is the vice president of public affairs for Cox Communications Arizona and is the mother of two school-aged children.

86533172

Horne proposes arming educators

In the wake of the Connecticut school shootings, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne is proposing a plan to allow one educator in each school to carry a gun.

Horne says Arizona schools opting to participate could designate someone to receive free firearms training. That person would be the only one allowed to keep a gun on campus if there wasn’t already a police officer posted there.

He says armed police officers at schools would be ideal but budget constraints make that unrealistic. Horne says his proposal is safer than allowing all educators to carry guns. State law would first have to be amended to push forward with his plan.

Currently, Utah and Kansas are the only states that allow people with concealed weapons permits to carry guns in a school.

Custome Fit EDU 2008

A Custom Fit EDU

By Don Harris

From two hours to two years, customized education programs are being offered to boost the performance and expertise of executive-level employees — and as a result improve a company’s bottom line.

Often, businesses struggle with putting the right person in the right leadership position. Even then, there might be gaps between what the person knows and needs to know. Customized programs are designed to fill those gaps.

cutome_fit_edu 2008

The focus of universities is on education, not necessarily training. There is even an executive education program that puts upper-level employees directly into community service through nonprofits as a way to help those in need and at the same time generate new skills and ideals that will benefit the employee’s own business.

Andy Atzert, assistant dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, and director of the school’s Business Center for Executive and Professional Development, says the center aids companies by expanding the knowledge and skills of managers and leaders, but doesn’t do tactical training, such as how to write a business plan.

The types of industries that utilize the center, Atzert says, include financial services, health care, technology, semiconductors, automotive, agribusiness, supply-chain services, information systems, and two major out-of-state oil companies.

“There is a demand outside Arizona for the expertise that we have,” Atzert says. “In fact, a majority of the companies are from out of state, and many of those are engaged in our online program.”

When Atzert says customized, he means customized.

“Some companies want a two-hour seminar, others want a customized MBA program that will take two years,” he says. “We deliver the program at company locations, at ASU or online.”

Because many companies have global work forces, the online option is getting increasingly popular. It’s more costly to send a person to an off-site location, not because of the travel expenses, but because of the time involved in being off the job, Atzert says.

Many of the courses offered focus on supply-chain management, which is a business discipline that has to do with how goods and services are bought and moved from one location to another.

For example, Toyota faces several supply-chain challenges in obtaining all the parts and materials needed to build an automobile. Atzert identifies questions the ASU program helps answer, such as what is needed, where does it come from, how do they buy it, how do they decide what to buy, how do they work with their designers, and what’s the best way to optimize their efforts and expenditures?

At the University of Phoenix, AZ LeaderForce is a program that pairs key business leaders with local nonprofits in a yearlong project to help improve the various organizations’ services and train those executives seeking leadership guidance.

Rodo Sofranac, University of Phoenix curriculum developer, says the program benefits businesses in a number of ways, including quality-of-life awareness, increasing leadership skills, and ethics.

“The issue is for participants in a project to take what they have learned and experienced back to their workplace and incorporate it in their personal life,” Sofranac says.

The University of Phoenix, which provides classroom facilities, produces a curriculum and donates its services for AZ LeaderForce, works with the Collaboration for a New Century, an organization formed about 10 years ago through the efforts of Phoenix Suns Chairman Jerry Colangelo. Topics covered include ethics, integrity, leadership, critical thinking skills and the social responsibility of business.

Steve Capobres, executive director of the Collaboration for a New Century, says the organization targets poverty issues and enlists the business community to work with human service agencies.

cover_october_2008

“At the same time,” Capobres says, “we have an executive leadership development program going on. We not only want their time, we want to mold them, cultivate them to become the next generation of business leaders. It’s a yearlong curriculum that takes them through the issues of what a good corporate citizen is. What does it mean to work in the community? What is your own leadership style, your ethics? It’s all about building good corporate leaders who are going to replace our older, retiring leaders.”

Among the corporate participants are Salt River Project, Bank of America, UBS Financial Services, State Farm Insurance, Lennar Homes and American Express.

“By taking people outside the world of business and putting them in the community to deal with the issue of poverty,” Capobres says, “those employees are going back to the company to be a better manager.”

wpcarey.asu.edu
www.phoenix.edu
www.thecollab.org

AZ Business Magazine October 2008 | Previous: Big Money… | Next: At Your Service