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Looking to the Future: Trends for 2014 and Beyond

P3: Selling the Value in Learning Spaces

P3: Selling the Value in Learning Spaces

PHOTO COURTESY OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION

Each year, as we examine the complexity and the ever-growing scarcity of funding in what we call the “new normal” economic environment, planners continue to put student need first, considering the importance of incorporating learning styles in planning for 21st-century educational environments. At CEFPI, we have noticed a trending movement that encompasses selling the value of quality schools in a community that benefits not just the students who occupy the spaces, but also the commercial entities that drive the local economy.

It’s no new phenomenon that quality schools serve as an economic engine, driving successful commercial enterprise to locate to a particular area. Nowadays, there has been noticeable increase in private enterprise engaging in private/public/partnerships (P3) with local school authorities and municipalities. We believe P3 will continue to grow throughout North America at various levels, whether it is through hospitality management schools, trade academies, community colleges, medical schools, ACE/STEM programs and more. Although these programs have been around for some time, the recent surge in P3 interest from the members and constituents of CEFPI corroborates the growth of this trend. CEFPI will be offering a suite of sessions on P3-related issues in our upcoming webinars (free for CEFPI members) and conferences.

In addition to recognizing the value in our physical environments, safety issues remain at the forefront of the conversation. This past year, CEFPI hosted a summit in Washington, D.C. that involved multifederal and state agencies, and dozens of stakeholders in the education and security fields to recognize and address significant issues impacting school safety and security. The result of this work was the publication of a best practices’ guide to brief school boards, parent groups, media, elected officials, educators, planners, designers and other publics regarding school security as it relates to the physical environment. This document is available, free of charge, on our website, www.cefpi.org.

In the coming year, CEFPI will launch a new program regarding resiliency in the learning environment. We will host a two-day conference in Scottsdale, AZ, Feb. 6 and 7, which will address not only hostile threats, but will include tornado shelters, earthquakes, indoor air quality, contingency planning, continuity of operations and leveraging funding for resiliency planning and infrastructure. We believe that by leading the effort to develop workable solutions for all types of emergencies and disruptions, we will provide an environment as safe as possible for our children and our communities. Expect to see more on this subject in this publication in the near future.

This article originally appeared in the January 2014 issue of School Planning & Management.