New Assessment Tool Offers Schools Best Bang for Their Buck
by Clare Friedrich
In a worsening economy, there isn’t much money floating around for school building improvements. A newly developed tool, developed by Randy Fielding and Prakash Nair, co-founders of Fielding Nair International and DesignShare.com, allows governments and schools to assess their buildings at a maximum value. The Educational Facilities Effectiveness Instrument (EFEI) provides a detailed measure of a school building and campus’ effectiveness to support 21st century teaching and learning modalities.
EFEI is Very Inexpensive and Easy to Implement
EFEI implementation starts with a three-day training program for in-house staff. All reviews are subsequently done by government employees themselves or their designated representatives. EFEI’s value across the system can be immense not only in ensuring that the massive influx of money into school facilities are returning the desired returns, but also by helping to reduce wasteful spending in favor of expenditures that directly and positively improve the educational bottom line – teaching and learning for students and for the community as a whole.
Used properly, EFEI can result in significant cost savings. Individual schools can save money by properly prioritizing spending decisions, building only what is likely to yield the maximum educational value, creating greater net-to-gross efficiencies, helping with funding (funding decisions are easier to justify when the educational benefits of slated improvements are easily understood), proper selection of materials, improving the long-term energy savings and maintenance costs, recruiting students and teachers to participate directly in the day-to-day upkeep of the facility and grounds as an integral part of the curriculum and building only what is absolutely necessary from a teaching and learning standpoint.
What the EFEI Can Do
EFEI allows the school stakeholder community to “test” and “score” many different solutions on paper at a holistic campus-wide level as well as at an individual building component level very early in the planning and design stages. This kind of early testing means that costly mistakes in the later stages of a project can be avoided and thus help keep projects on schedule and within budget. Gareth Long, an Education Consultant in the United Kingdom and Cayman Islands, says, “The extensive range of information included within EFEI allows data-driven decision making for planning. This is an incredibly powerful tool if used correctly – every district should consider its use.”
For more information and specifics about EFEI, please see EFEI Demo at goodschooldesign.com or contact Prakash Nair, President, Fielding Nair International and Editor, DesignShare.com at: Prakash@fieldingnair.com or call him at +1 917 406 3120.
November 19th, 2008