School Design as a Competitive Advantage

As public school districts face increasing competition with neighboring districts and private schools, how can they position themselves for increased success? An often overlooked and undervalued opportunity for school districts is the investment in outstanding facility design.  An exceptional design can provide a distinct advantage in several ways which combine to provide substantially improved dividends over time.


Great design of educational spaces has a positive impact on test scores and information retention.

Recent studies in educational design have shown that:

  • Productivity increases with updated and improved building systems as follows:
    • 23% from better lighting
    • 11% from improved ventilation
    • 3% from more specific temperature controls


  • With the addition of daylighting in classrooms students achieve
    • 5-14% higher test scores
    • Learn 20-26% faster


  • Mental function and memory improve 10-25% on average when students are provided access to views of the outdoors versus those without outside views.


All of these results lead to better overall student performance, thus enhancing the competitive position of your district.


Thoughtfully designed spaces and proper materials perform better in terms of long-range utility, maintenance, and operating costs which can significantly decrease the lifetime cost for the facility.

Contractor and architect fees may seem significant at the time of planning and building a new school, but in fact they are less than 10% of the total cost of the facility. The most significant costs any type of facility incurs are the ongoing costs for utilities and maintenance, and careful planning up front can significantly reduce these costs over the life of the facility. Choosing efficient mechanical systems, evaluating exterior building envelope design options, and selecting finishes that are made to perform well over time are ways to invest in future savings for your district. Your architect is experienced in choosing and suggesting the best investments for your district’s near-term and long-term needs.


Comfortable and welcoming spaces will make a considerable difference in recruiting students and teachers when other criteria are fundamentally equal.

A great deal of time is spent in school buildings by students, teachers, faculty, and volunteers. Of course academic scores, course offerings, and other fundamentals are important to those making location choices, but a district with well-designed, welcoming facilities offers a significant competitive advantage because of very real aesthetic and environmental benefits. If the space is efficient, beautiful, comfortable, and conducive to education, the students learning in it will perform measurably better.


Not only can exceptional building design improve your district’s academic results, but it can also improve its position in an increasingly competitive environment to attract the best students and educators. Utilizing an experienced architect for your project, whether it be new construction, remodeling or an addition, is a solid investment in the future of your district.