How to Conduct an Effective Facility Audit for Your School

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As a school facility manager, it’s important to perform routine facility and safety audits so the students, faculty, and staff can enjoy a comfortable environment while you ensure that everything is up to code. Learning how you can improve your facility or update your systems is crucial.

Here are a few helpful tips to show you the proper facility audit procedures.

Facility Audit

There are many factors at play when it comes to conducting a facility audit. The audit will require time and resources but only to ensure that everything is running as efficiently as possible. Whether you have an outsider come in to inspect or the school district has a professional at their disposal, it’s important to have an updated inventory checklist on hand so the process can be as efficient as possible. The facility audit is performed to gauge the status of your facility and determine if any updates or repairs would be necessary.

Necessary Inspections

When you’re conducting a facility audit, you should have your inventory checklist with the equipment and the date that said equipment was manufactured and installed. This will help the auditor determine the life cycle of the equipment and systems in your facility. By providing the auditor with the necessary resources, the actual audit should be fairly easy to compete.

Facility Audit

The auditor will carefully inspect your HVAC system to determine its quality and effectiveness and if it requires any repairs to pass inspection. If you’ve kept up with routine maintenance, this shouldn’t be a problem. Your water system will also be inspected to ensure the water quality and the functionality of the pumps and pipes.

The grounds of your facility will also be carefully inspected. The auditor will look for any damage to the exterior of the building as well as the quality of the parking lots. The auditor will also assess the landscaping and athletic fields to ensure student safety.

Areas to Focus On

Every facility or school has its weak spots, or areas that require a lot of focus and perhaps even maintenance. Bathrooms can be one of these areas, as several factors can contribute to a less-than-adequate audit. Air quality is an important aspect in the bathroom audit, so as a facility manager, you should take steps to ensure that everything is acceptable and up to par.

Bathrooms can be a breeding ground for mold and fungus, which have a negative effect on the air quality. Due to the overwhelming moisture and humidity, several components of your bathroom can be susceptible to mold growth. Your bathroom stalls and partitions may have mold sprouting inside them, so think about replacing these stalls with a more durable material like HDPE (high-density polyethylene), which is resistant to moisture, scratches, and even graffiti.

If you’ve kept up with your facility’s systems in terms of maintenance and repairs, you should expect good results from an audit. However, a variety of measures can help you to achieve a great audit. You may even want to consider some renovations. Learn more by downloading our eBook The Complete Guide to Renovating Your School’s Locker Room.

School Safety Plans & Tips: How to Prevent Theft, Vandalism & Break-Ins

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For many reasons, schools are frequently the target of vandalism, break-ins, and theft. For one, some people see schools as being owned by no one rather than being owned by everyone. Schools can also be a source of great frustration for the students that go there, so they may use vandalism as a way of expressing that stress.

But whatever the reason, it’s important for schools to develop plans and strategies for preventing these issues from occurring. In this post, we’ll discuss some of the best ways to prevent theft, vandalism, and break-ins from happening at your school.

Prevent Break-Ins by Controlling Access

Keeping doors locked on weekends and when the building isn’t in use is an essential tip for keeping your school safe from break-ins and theft. But what about when parts of the school are in use and others aren’t?

In this scenario, moveable gates are perfect for sectioning off hallways and even whole wings of a building. These lockable gates also allow cleaning staff and other personnel to still move freely through the building.

It might also behoove you to think about limiting access from other entry points, like lower-level windows. Consider planting thorny bushes to help deter would-be intruders from attempting to break into your school.

Use Warning Signs to Deter Vandalism

As simple as they may seem, posting clearly visible warning signs can be an extremely effective way to reduce the amount of unsupervised loitering and the problems that arise from such activities. Warning signs play a vital role in setting rules and expectations for your school and the school grounds.

You can also clearly establish the school territory by using student art and gardens. These indicate that the school along with the grounds around it are monitored regularly and well cared for.

People are much less likely to deface or break into a property that’s in good condition compared to one that looks deserted and rundown. Remove any existing graffiti from lockers or bathroom walls immediately.

Stop Theft by Securing Valuables

Any valuable equipment should be kept in a safe and secure place that’s accessible only by authorized personnel. Storing things like expensive audio-visual equipment in the classroom or similar common area leaves the equipment at risk. It could easily be damaged or even stolen when a faculty member isn’t watching.

You can also use carts to move expensive equipment from room to room so only one room has to be secured at a time.

Use Graffiti-Resistant Materials

Given their nature of privacy and being secluded, two things that vandals rely on, school bathrooms are frequently the target of vandalism. One way to prevent vandalism is to utilize materials that are resistant to graffiti and scratches.

High-density polyethylene (HDPE), for example, is a durable plastic material that’s highly resistant to graffiti. It can be used for a multitude of applications, including bathroom partitions, vanities, and lockers. In addition to helping to deter vandalism, this material is 100% resistant to rust.

Want to learn more about HDPE bathroom partitions? Check out this case study from the Dallas Independent School District.

Color Psychology: Classroom Colors Conducive to Learning

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For years, scientists have studied the effects of various colors on the human mood, which is known as color psychology. Results have shown that different shades or hues have strikingly different effects, and specific classroom colors are more conducive to learning. Blue, for example, is soothing and calming, while red encourages excitement. So it’s important to consider color choice when decorating your classroom.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at color psychology, how color can alter the mood of your classroom, and review some best practices that can help you to heighten creativity and improve focus.

Understanding the Effects of Colors

As we mentioned above, each color has a particular effect on mood. Red can create a sense of excitement and increase alertness. It also increases appetite and creativity. However, for individuals who suffer from anxiety, red can also be extremely upsetting. Blue, on the other hand, can suppress appetite, lower temperature, and create a calming environment.

Use the list below to see what effects certain colors can have:

  • Yellow: Increases creativity and attention and instills a general feeling of positivity
  • Orange: Can improve alertness
  • Green: Peaceful and calm
  • Purple: Peaceful and calm
  • Brown: Can reduce feelings of fatigue and improve feelings of relaxation or make students feel more secure
  • Off-White: Improves attention and instills feelings of positivity
  • Red: Inspires alertness, excitement and creativity

Adjusting Colors in a Preschool Classroom to Improve Attention, Creativity or Rest

Within a preschool setting, color adjusting the room can help with many activities and tasks when working with young children who need direction, structure or calming. For instance, wearing an off-white shirt can help to improve their attention span, while using splashes of red around the art station can increase creativity and excitement. Meanwhile, quiet areas for naptime should be decorated with shades of green, purple, or blue to promote rest and a sense of peace and calmness within the room.

Inspiring Learning with Youth and Adults

Similar to how color can be used in classrooms for young children and infants, teachers who work with youth and adults can strategically decorate their classrooms to improve attention, creativity, and even feelings of security. If you spend most of your time lecturing and want students to be alert so they can take thorough notes, consider adding orange, off-white, or red to the room.

If your class involves hands-on work where students are asked to create or solve complex problems, then using colors like red or yellow can help to facilitate creativity.

Whatever your lesson plan involves, color can be used to instill learning and improve student performance. Keep in mind what effects colors have on mood in the classroom and plan your classroom decorating all colors and decorating carefully.

Did you know that classroom design can impact students’ attitudes and even the way they retain information?

To learn more, read our article, New Research Shows Positive Connection Between Classroom Design and Learning.

Scranton Products, a leading lockers manufacturer, manufactures low maintenance, aesthetically pleasing and durable lockers for school facilities. Learn more about Duralife school lockers, ideal for elementary, middle school and high school facilities.

 

New Research Shows Positive Connection Between Classroom Design and Learning

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The team designing and executing a school facility has a lot of responsibilities, including student safety. Recently, it’s been discovered that design can impact the students’ attitudes and even the way they retain information.

When designing a school facility, use this information to inspire the design and increase students’ performances in reading, writing, and math.

The American Institute of Architects has discussed UK-based HEAD (Holistic Evidence and Design) findings regarding this information.

Key Findings

HEAD spent three years studying 153 classrooms in 27 schools in Blackpool, Hampshire, and Ealing, UK, that involved 3,766 students. They found evidence that shows how important classroom design is to students’ learning and what factors yield these results.

The study looked at three dimensions or design principles that have been used to suggest and structure the factors that should be considered to keep students engaged in different activities. These dimensions are naturalness, individualization, and stimulation.

Naturalness is about the light, sound, temperature, air quality, and other links to nature. Individualization is about a student’s ownership, flexibility, and connection to the environment. And stimulation is about the appropriate level of complexity and color.

Using this three-part structure, the study focused on the impact of various elements of school environments on students. Its findings are directly related to the facility’s design and construction, such as natural light and the shading of the windows as well as their location.

A classroom should have distinct characteristics and a location that allow students to be relaxed but also promotes a sense of ownership. And to appeal to the appropriate level of stimulation, the overall atmosphere must be engaging but free of clutter. Bright colors should be used only as accents.

Classroom Designs and Materials

Studies have demonstrated that an aesthetically pleasing environment designed in a certain way will better contribute to students’ learning and comfort. Architects and engineers should consider this information when creating a building’s design.

In addition to the layout, window placement, and other factors necessary for a stimulating facility, it’s important to ensure the use of materials that are safe for the children and provide for a healthy environment.

Scranton Products utilizes high-density polyethylene (HDPE) to reduce the environmental impact and improve facilities’ indoor air quality.

Solid plastic HDPE doesn’t absorb moisture, resists mold and mildew, and has a 25-year warranty. The partitions and lockers can be power washed and steam cleaned, so you never have to use harmful chemical cleaners. They contain a solid color throughout, so you’ll never need to paint them, which eliminates VOC emissions.

Click here to find out where you can purchase Scranton Products for your facility.