Evaluating School Facilities of Pending Schools
Evaluating School Facilities of Pending Schools
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With the extremely significant purpose of handling the development of public schools in Ohio to ascertain their abidance to high standards of quality, the Ohio School Facility Commission or OFSC remains as one of the most essential agencies for the state’s educational institution - Evaluating School Facilities of Pending Schools introduction. The OFSC was established in 1997 through the efforts of the US Department of Education to ensure that the public schools in the state that provides learning opportunities for children from the Kindergarten up to the twelfth grade levels are constructed under strict and accurate standards and guidelines. (OSFC, 2009)
In order to accomplish the agency’s sole purpose, it is committed to oversee the many stages of school construction. Primarily, with the help of the US Department of Education under the mandate of the Federal Recovery Act, otherwise known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 or ARRA, and the Local School District, the OFSC is able to manage the funding, planning and designing, and the building of public schools for the primary grade levels in Ohio. Furthermore, the OSFC exerts effort to accomplish fully its goals and objectives by establishing a partnership with the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities or NCEF. The NCEF is responsible for providing relevant and comprehensive information on how the OSFC is to proceed with the agency’s operations. The NCEF knowingly provides concise data that is the basis of the OSFCs standards and guidelines for school construction. (OSFC, 2009)
Despite the OFSC’s commitment to assist all public schools in the construction and development stages, the OSFC sets various requirements for eligibility that the various schools should meet in order to be granted appropriations for the school construction project. Moreover, the funding and extent of support that the OSFC provides for public schools in the state is dependent on eligibility rankings that is created by the Ohio Department of Education annually based on school population, location, required facilities, and so on. (NCEF, 2009) The remainder of this paper is a narrative and evaluation of the condition three schools from different schools districts in an effort to determine which school construction project should be granted and approved.
Woodside Elementary (Austintown, Ohio)
Woodside Elementary, which is located in Austintown, is a public school for Pre-Kindergarten to Fourth Grade students. The school currently employs sixteen teachers who handle more than three hundred students enrolled in the school. Based on my observations during the school site visit, I have noted down several positive and negative aspects of the school facilities. By and large, the conditions of the Main Office, the Gymnasium, and the classrooms were agreeable based on the physical environment, their location, their appearance, and the structure’s congruence with its purpose.
The Main Office fits the elementary learning environment because it was designed with a rich colorful palette. The Main Office’s location was also appropriate since it was built at the entrance of the school wherein students and other people from outside of the school, who might want to ask some questions, may readily access. The Gymnasium was grounded with rubber tiles, which is ideal for gymnasium floorings that were obviously well maintained as they were kept clean and gleaming. Also, the lighting conditions inside the gymnasium was ideal for sporting events and other programs that the community is allowed to hold since the windows allow the lighting to pass through adequately. Furthermore, the structure of the classrooms was ideal for primary grade classes since they were built to house a large space. Since the classrooms were large, I believe that they allow organized and harmonized work groups, which children in the primary grade classes truly enjoy.
On the other hand, I do believe that the school building requires repainting, a new room or building for art classes, and an improvement in the structure of the playground for security reasons. The playground is located two streets away from Section 8 Housing, which is considered an unsafe neighborhood due to a shooting incident in the past. The paint of the walls of the school building came off, which does not look pleasing especially since it is a school and art classes are being conducted in the basement of the school. The basement was previously a storage for gardening and landscaping tools. The walls reeked of mold and mildew that were obviously painted over for the students.
Howland High School (Howland, Ohio)
Howland High School currently employs seventy teachers under different departments such as the Art Department, Technology, Health and Physical Education, English, Mathematics, Social Studies, Foreign Languages, Science, Intervention, Vocational Education, Music, Work and Family Studies, ISS, and the management of the Media Center. In the current year, the school has more than one thousand students enrolled from the ninth to the twelfth grades. The admirable aspect of the school’s facilities is the institution’s palpable dedication to academic and extra-curricular development.
The school has a large library that also houses distance learning rooms for the students. The school proposed for a remodeling of a space that they discovered to be an ideal location for a library and was granted by the Local School Board and the Department of Education. Furthermore, the structure of the school encourages the student’s exploration and expression of art since the basement halls was decorated with large paintings made by students making the area look like an art gallery. Since the school also supports extra-curricular development such as the students’ involvement in sports, it houses a shooting range and various tennis courts accessible to students.
Despite the unique learning opportunities within the school facilities, the school needs an auditorium for important school gatherings. Within the school buildings, there is also a need to add more windows or install additional lighting fixtures in the school cafeteria, over-do the shattered steps, and then invest in gardening and landscaping for the Memorial Garden located in the school’s main entrance. The grass has not been trimmed for a while since they cover the garden benches. In addition, the large clock outside should be fixed because it was not working.
Mineral Ridge Middle School (Mineral Ridge, Ohio)
There are more than three hundred students enrolled in the school from the fifth to the eighth grade. Handling the students are twenty-one teachers who also specialize in different courses under various departments. Like Woodside Elementary, the school keeps its well-lighted gymnasium maintained. There are also enough rooms for classes, the computer laboratory and so on. Aside from these positive aspects, I believe that the rest of the school facilities requires restructuring or remodeling.
One of the major problems in the school building is the ceiling. The staff and students complain about leakages in some parts of the ceiling whenever it rains. The result of leakages is the growth and accumulation of mold and mildew not only in the ceiling but also in the walls. Furthermore, the cafeteria does not provide a healthy environment for the students since the garage for the schools buses is located beneath it. Whenever the buses leave or arrive, the windows in the cafeteria must be opened in order to avoid the accumulation of gas and smoke from the exhaust. I believe that this is a major problem that threatens the health not only of the students but of the cafeteria staff as well. Also, the school needs a new steam boiler but without funding, it will not be able to purchase a replacement.
Based on my observations of the three schools, I do believe that Mineral Ridge Middle School is in urgent need of support for remodeling and funding for the purchase of new facilities and fixtures. My assessment is based on the urgency and the extent of need that the schools require. The appalling condition of the building and facilities at Mineral Ridge Middle School is the worst in comparison with the negative aspects or conditions of the school buildings and facilities at Woodside Elementary and Howland High School. Moreover, the setup of the cafeteria endangers the health of the students and the leakages in some of the classrooms in the school are a big hindrance to developing a conducive or favorable environment for learning. As a means to resolve the problems in the school, the garage should be built in a different location away from the cafeteria and the pipes should be checked and fixed in order to stop leakages in the ceiling. Furthermore, the school needs to be provided with adequate funding for a new steam boiler.
The tour and observation of the schools in different locations of the state was a refreshing and motivating experience because the visitations was for the purpose of discovering how the school buildings and facilities were supposed to be improved. The thought and the act of being able to provide input, suggestions, or recommendations for the purpose of helping improve school buildings and facilities were constructive experiences allowing me to realize the importance not only of the course, “Facility and Technology,” but also of my incoming role as part of the academic institution. It fills me with a heightened sense of fulfillment that I may be able to do something in order to contribute to the improvement of the quality of learning if only for the development of school structures.
For these reasons, I believe that the course is fairly important in the development of one’s career as a superintendent. This is because one of the many roles of the superintendent is to oversee how the schools manage to provide learning opportunities based on set high standards of education, and in this case, specifically on the physical condition and facilities of the school. Furthermore, the superintendent also holds the power to evaluate what the school requires to improve its structure and facilities and with the knowledge of facilities and technology, one, as a superintendent, is able to determine what schools need through thorough evaluation.
NCEF. (2009). Recovery Act Funding for School Construction. Retrieved 22 Jun
2009 from the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities. Website: http://www.ncef.org/school-modernization/
OFSC. (2009). About OSFC. Retrieved 22 Jun 2009 from the Ohio School Facilities
Commission. Website: http://www.osfc.state.oh.us/