Like other states across the country, California is leveraging federal and state dollars for game changing new approaches to building schools. The demand to let fresh air, nature, light, and color in, is adding to the squeeze on materials, supplies and timing. Experts observe that constructing with modular components can be an important part of the solution.
Hybrid Approaches: Modular+Traditional?
Billions in federal and state funding is committed for school construction in California. Districts, teachers, parents—and students—want bright light, clean air, colorful engaging spaces, access to nature, and spaces that can easily flex for different purposes. Clearly, these new and renovated school buildings are not the ones most of us grew up attending! Given that “every year, students spend about 1,000 of their 6,000 waking hours in a school building,” it’s a good thing that school building design and construction is undergoing gamechange across the country. To speed progress, as American Modular shares, some schools in California are finding success by incorporating modular into builds:
Mixing modular and traditional design saves money without compromising amenities or aesthetics, making hybrid design one of the most impactful trends this year. Schools can expand by attaching modular wings to existing stick-built structures or integrating freestanding modular buildings into an established campus. Hybrid designs package the best of both—the speed and affordability of modular with the fully custom capabilities of traditional. The ability to match aesthetics with custom colors, finishes and architectural enhancements makes modular a chameleon, able to blend with any style, on any site.
The new First Responders Center at Fresno City College is a large-scale, high-end hybrid scheduled to open in late 2022. It connects separate modular wings for the school’s Fire and Police Academies to a shared stick-built entry, lobby and conference area—a space-efficient way to cover a broad range of needs at a lower cost.
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Good To Know
The school building features that promote physical and mental well-being turn out to
Be great for energy efficiency too:
Natural blue light from the sun energizes us, brightens our mood and helps us feel focused and alert. Studies show that students exposed to more sunlight progressed 26% faster in reading and 20% faster in math than students in artificially lit classrooms. That makes daylighting one of the most cost- and energy-efficient ways to increase visual comfort and cognitive performance.
New schools are looking to maximize glass, trending toward walls of windows and multi-level lighting that spread sunlight ceiling to floor. Storefront windows and doors with viewlites and sidelites daylight interiors while providing sightlines for student safety. Skylights and clerestory windows bring in extra light while protecting privacy. Clear glass partitions divide space while sharing light between rooms.
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