General Archives

March 12, 2009


Welcome to the new EDI blog -- your one-stop source for news about school design, construction, and funding.

June 17, 2009

School Size

The Mississippi School Design Guidelines recommend the following school sizes:

For smaller school districts:

Elementary: 300-400 students
Middle School: 300-600 students
High School: 400-800 students

For larger school districts:

Elementary: 300-400 students
Middle School: 500-600 students
High School: 800-1000 students

According to the MSDG, "most research supports these numbers."

The New York Times has an interesting article following NYC's attempts to retire large schools and replace them with smaller schools. The headline is somewhat misleading:

From the actual report:

June 29, 2009

Two Harbors High School

From the spring 2009 edition of High Performing Buildings magazine. An attractive, green school built in Minnesota for $129/SF. Keep in mind, many of the climatic strategies are not necessarily appropriate for Mississippi.

July 13, 2009

Innovative School Design

Eight innovative school designs from the February edition of Metropolis magazine.

From the same article: IDEO’s Ten Tips For Creating a 21st–Century Classroom Experience:”

July 21, 2009

School Pivotal to Brown v. Board of Education May Be Saved

From The New York Times: Sumner Elementary, which was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987, was abandoned and scheduled for possible demolition. A neat story, with wider implications: many of our local school districts face decisions concerning abandoned or under-utilized schools.

August 3, 2009

Architects Make Case for Green Schools

According to a recent AIA Angle (an email published by the American Institute of Architects), "AIA leaders told U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan last week that architects are ready to help improve education through better designed schools."

Follow this link for the full story:

August 4, 2009

School Lockers

In an attempt to control contraband, many schools have eliminated student lockers. However, eliminating lockers can cause other problems, including overloaded backpacks or the need to purchase duplicate copies of text books.

The July 2009 edition of School Planning & Management offers some ideas on how schools can keep lockers:

August 13, 2009

Classroom Acoustics

Architects, engineers, and educators are becoming more aware of the importance of good classroom acoustics. According to a February 2009 fact sheet from the United States Access Board:

Acoustical performance is an important consideration in the design of classrooms. Research indicates that levels of background noise and reverberation little noticed by adults, who are mature and skillful listeners, adversely affect learning environments for young children, who require optimal conditions for hearing and comprehension. Poor classroom acoustics are an additional educational barrier for children who have hearing loss and those who use cochlear implants, since assistive technologies amplify both wanted and unwanted sound. Children who have temporary hearing loss, who may comprise up to 15% of the school age population according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), are also significantly affected, as are children who have speech impairments or learning disabilities. Kids whose home language is different than the teaching language are also at additional risk of educational delay and failure.

The Access Board fact sheet:

An overview of classroom acoustics from Architectural Record magazine:

September 18, 2009

"Combi" Oven/Steamers

In an attempt to serve their children healthier meals, many school districts are discarding their fryers and switching to combination (combi) oven/steamers. The Mississippi Office of Healthy Schools has some valuable information for districts considering this change:

October 4, 2009

Designing Schools for Today's Students

From School Construction News:

October 28, 2009

Design and Construction Markets

Work in architecture firms remains slow. This reflects the overall downturn in the construction industry. For owners who have funds and/or financing, now is an advantageous time to build.

For information concerning design firms, see the American Institute of Architects press release:

November 30, 2009

Addition to Wilkins Elementary (Jackson) Opens

A major addition provides needed classroom space.

First Grade teacher Shirley Wilson says, "When things are new, children are excited about learning. In fact, everyone is motivated by this."

From the Clarion-Ledger:

BIM Solves All Construction Problems!

Nah.... But Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a powerful design and documentation tool that is gaining favor with owners and designers. A couple of articles from School Construction News:

City and School District Share Facilities.... And Everyone is Happy

More or less. A realistic article from School Construction News outlining the benefits and challenges of sharing facilities.

February 9, 2010

Designing for Earthquakes

The tragedy in Haiti is a reminder that earthquakes can strike outside the Pacific Rim and Italy. Because of its proximity to the New Madrid fault, northwest Mississippi is in a fairly high earthquake risk zone. Furthermore, earthquake risk across the Delta region of our state is higher than usual due to the potential of the Delta soils to "liquefy" under a seismic load. See this link from the USGS:

For an overview of earthquakes and schools, follow this link from the National Clearinghouse of Educational Facilities:

May 18, 2010

Closing and/or Consolidating Schools Within a District

The National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities (NCEF) provides numerous resources for school districts facing the prospect of closing and/or consolidating facilities:,_Consolidation,_Co-location.cfm

One of these resources is a best practices guide from the California Department of Education, which acknowledges:

"The decision to close a school is anguishing. It profoundly affects parents, neighborhoods, communities, district personnel, and, of course, students. It affects relationships, routines, and cherished territorialities. In short, it alters not only district operations but also lives. A decision NOT [emphasis added] to close a school, however, amidst circumstances of declining enrollment and economic necessity, can be imprudent. And while the immediate effects of closing a school may be painful, the long-term effects can be beneficial to everyone."

A link to the best practices guide:

May 31, 2010

Safe School Facilities Checklist

This customizable checklist from the NCEF provides a powerful tool for analyzing your school's safety and security.

Fun Facts About Schools

This qualifies more as trivia than anything else.... Still interesting, though.

August 9, 2010

School Construction Work Nears Completion in Jackson Metro Area


Madison County:

August 12, 2010

School Destroyed by Katrina Re-opens in Gulfport

August 23, 2010

Some Thoughts on Closing Schools

An editorial from American School & University:

August 24, 2010

Life Skills and Vocational Education for the 21st Century

The 2010 EDI Studio worked on a project for the CREATE Foundation that follows many of the principles discussed in this article:

September 14, 2010

Clinton School Bond Vote

From the Clarion-Ledger:

September 16, 2010

When Things Go Wrong

Architect sues district. District claims code violations.

September 28, 2010

A Large School Improves Performance

Many school reformers saw (or see) small schools as magic bullets that can cure all educational ills. As usual, reality appears to be more complex than small school advocates would have us believe.

November 27, 2010

U.S. Justice Department Forces School District to Consolidate

Changes coming to the Leake County School District. From the Clarion-Ledger:

December 10, 2010

Back to the Future?

An interesting article from Slate on classroom design.

"Classrooms in countries with the highest-performing students contain very little tech wizardry, generally speaking. They look, in fact, a lot like American ones -- circa 1989 or 1959."

December 23, 2010

Renovate or Build New?

An article from SchoolConstructionNEWS.

January 15, 2011

Schools of the 21st Century

New website from Architectural Record magazine. I have not reviewed every page, but the website is worth a look.

Columbus, Miss., Community Excited about New Middle School

An editorial from The Dispatch:

Citizens tour the new school:

A story in Architect magazine:

Summit Elementary School

An innovative elementary school in Wyoming. From SchoolConstructionNews.

January 18, 2011

Virtual Classrooms Called "Tip of the Iceberg"

A radically different way of conceiving a school. From The New York Times:

February 1, 2011

"Falling Down"

An article on the state of the nation's schools in People magazine. Use the "click to enlarge" button.,,20434668,00.html

February 13, 2011

U.K. Considers Prototype Schools

Prototype schools -- basic school designs that are created without a specific site or context in mind -- are controversial. Advocates see the benefits of reducing design time and design fees, while detractors question the appropriateness of using prototypes for different sites and for districts with different needs.

An article from Architectural Record online:

August 18, 2011

Schools Re-open in Joplin, MO, after Tornado

About General

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Educational Design Institute in the General category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

EDI News is the previous category.

Green Schools is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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