Think Tank Program to Tackle Future K-12 Schooldesign

by Staff

In an effort to benefit the future design of schools, theuniversity’s Schoolhouse of the 21st Century will host its firstnational forum today.

The center was created in July as a place for people around thenation to discuss ideas on future K-12 school design. It is one ofthe few programs in the nation that will provide a clearinghouse oftimely, up-to-date information on the topic.

“This program is unique in that it is a think tank, and it islooking at the marriage of curriculum and school facilitiesplanning,” said Schoolhouse representative Margaret Karnyski. “Kindof like yin and yang and how they compliment each other. The outcomebeing a building that enhances student success through curriculum.”

Schoolhouse Director John Grant said representatives from NewYork, Texas and New Hampshire will attend the forum this month. Thisforum is the first in a series expected in 2001. Grant said they willenhance conversation about how schools can better serve students,educators and communities in the future.

Project coordinators for the Schoolhouse will be gatheringresearch about the way new facilities can be built to accommodatedifferent school communities.

It is operated through a public-private partnership between theCollege of Education and the American Schoolhouse Council, aconsortium of several architectural firms who primarily buildschools.

Grant said the American Schoolhouse Council chose SDSU as the siteof the project because of the campus’ leadership, capacity andCalifornia’s expected future growth.

“California is a place where there is going to be a lot ofconstruction,” Grant said.

Grant also said that SDSU was also chosen because of theleadership of College of Education Dean Lionel Meno as well as thepeople at the university willing to support the idea.

Even though the project is just off the ground, Karnyski said theresponse from people around the nation has been favorable.

“People are curious and excited,” Karnyski said. “They like theidea of a think tank. A think tank where there is this generation ofideas and an examination of our current ideas and current practices.”

According to the National Education Association, an estimated $322billion is needed to repair and modernize America’s school buildings.

Since its inception last semester, officials in the College ofEducation have hired staff for the school. Three people are currentlyworking on the concept of the program and its goals.

Future objectives for the program include the creation of a Website and a model on how to plan, design and construct K-12 schools.

The center is currently funded by a $500,000 grant from theAmerican Schoolhouse Council and a $250,000 grant from the CaliforniaState University system.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email