Following 2021's COP26, the pressure is heating up for UK businesses to demonstrate how they…
Education has long been experiencing an evolution. Even before the pandemic came to disassemble the structures that had been in place for generations, the need to prepare students for jobs of the future has also weighed heavy on the capabilities of campuses. As education facilities look into the future, equipped with new lessons from the pandemic, many older buildings may find themselves in need of refurbishments and new constructions to accommodate the needs of students and the world they are set to inherit. Naturally, these pressures are driving construction trends in the education sector. Education construction today has to go beyond the needs of the moment and look far into the future to ensure they stand the test of time.
STEM specific facilities
Institutions at almost every level will need facilities that accommodate training for students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. Unlike other classrooms, STEM facilities tend to have special needs. First, there are distinct spatial requirements, and second, there will be particular specs to account for equipment noise and vibrations.
What’s more, STEM lessons can cover a broad range of activities that are constantly changing. Buildings need to be flexible to meet changing needs across the fields and changing needs as time goes on. STEM is quickly moving, and facilities will need to meet the needs today and a decade from now or risk becoming quickly outdated.
Similarly to the STEM facilities, cross-disciplinary spaces are important today to optimise space and essential in the future to adapt to changing needs. Constructing classrooms, and institutions more broadly, with multi-function in mind, allows them to evolve as the needs of the school grow and change.
Increased tech infrastructure
It goes without saying that technology use will only continue as time goes on. Construction needs to consider how technology hardware will be stored and whether there are enough power sockets to accommodate a fully kitted classroom.
Hybrid learning abilities
The greatest long-term impact of the pandemic will be the home/school hybrid. Now that parents and students have had this experience, the demand for continued flexibility is not going away. Accommodating hybrid learning allows school campuses to increase capacity and gives students and parents a way to access education regardless of circumstances that make it difficult to get to class.
On-campus this will mean infrastructure to record lessons that students can connect to at home. Partitions could allow one room to become two, catering to the different class sizes. And in cases where classes are 100% online, but some students are on campus, spaces will be needed where they can log in and learn.
We are in a period of time where the investments made today will impact public perceptions well into the future. As the world works toward net-zero carbon emissions, the sustainability responsibilities of businesses and institutions are coming under heavy criticism. When building facilities that must last a lifetime, it’s important to realise that the structures of those facilities will be judged on the standards of the time.
Considering long life cycles, lower energy costs and lower maintenance costs is one way to build sustainability into the construction of new establishments or facilities. Building with the future in mind also reduces the need for refurbishments and costly new builds.
Build with ROI in mind
All of these mentioned above are not just nice-to-haves for a modern facility. They are essential to make sure construction investments pay off. Without this level of long-term, hyper-flexible thinking, constructions today could need replacing in just a few years.
Education construction – where to find out more
Are you specifying fitted furniture for an education facility? See case studies of furniture projects we’ve completed for schools and colleges around the UK.
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