Was your building designed by a total idiot?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by FourSquare, Aug 5, 2011.

  1. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Sometimes I wonder about the architecture behind schools. I can understand some really old buildings not being up to par for modern technology, but my building is not THAT old and some things about it are so ridiculous. For example, I have about 10 outlets clustered along the back wall of my classroom and 0 anywhere else. Also, our cafeteria only has one entrance/exit THROUGH THE FOOD LINE. So kids leaving have to run into other kids carrying trays as they exit.

    What parts of your school layout do you wish you could fix?
     
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  3. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    I was hired just as the new day care building was being landscaped. I happened to be outside when the landscapers came with plants. Oh my goodness, you should have seen what they brought!! I stood in the gate and blocked the entrance to the playground as I screamed at the man. No one had told him this was a daycare, and many of his plants were poisenious.
     
  4. HistTchr

    HistTchr Habitué

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    My school was built in 1997 (to replace the original 1935 building), so it's not too old, either. In my opinion, all of the classrooms are just a little too small. If you have more than 25 student desks in there, it starts feeling cramped. Of course, most classes have 25 or more students. One of the most annoying features in my classroom is that the light switches are clear across the room from the door. Overall, the building is a very nice one, but little things like this can be quite annoying!
     
  5. alilisa

    alilisa Habitué

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    I am moving classrooms/schools this year! Yep, my "new" school was built by a total idiot! I have to have a ladder to reach onto the 2nd shelf of my cupboards! The first shelf starts at my head level and go higher! I know that I am short, but not that short at 5' 6".
     
  6. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    The crack in the door of the handicapped stall is directly in front of the toilet and it's not a narrow crack.

    The whiteboards are about 3 1/2 feet from the floor, which is fine unless you actually want to write on the top and you don't happen to be 6'4".
     
  7. Mrs. Mom

    Mrs. Mom Cohort

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    My building is only 4 years old...the only bulletin board we have is over a built in shelf...kids can't reach it, teachers have a hard time covering it. Outlets are poorly placed. There are no corners in any of the classrooms that don't have a cabinet, coat rack, or air conditioning unit in them. Minimal storage, too.
     
  8. historynut

    historynut Rookie

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    This year in my portable the teacher computer hookup is located right next to the utility sink. They pulled the connector box out of the floor and moved it over a foot because they put the sink directly over where the box was originally.

    When our portables got enhanced last year (ceiling mounted projectors and ELMOs) the company that did the install should have been fired on several occasions. They installed my ELMO behind my teacher desk. Which wouldn't be bad except they moved a student desk back there and completely blocked access to anything. Most classrooms have a rat nest of cables and surge protectors plugged into surge protectors.
     
  9. LUCHopefulTeach

    LUCHopefulTeach Habitué

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    YES! Our cafeteria is in the basement! And the stairway leading to the basement isn't very wide- I'd say single file!
     
  10. america82099

    america82099 Rookie

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    I think they were a little indecisive in our building. The rooms are small, but it is an old school so that is understandable, but each of the rooms is just a little bit different. Some have closets, other's dont. Some have a sink, other's don't. My room doesn't have either. We also only have have outlets on one side of the room, as well as the internet and phone access. So all my computers and phone, smart board are on one side of the room. Annoying during set up time, which is now.
     
  11. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    For some reason my school never put in walls to separate classrooms, they've used tall bookshelves to separate rooms, which means I can hear everything my neighbor is saying. It's gotten better-- years ago the whole floor upstairs use to be open and they used chalkboards as dividers.

    There's news of updating my classroom-- the science lab-- but I haven't been told anything. I was new last year, so I'm hoping to hear about some plans hopefully soon. We really need some updated safety items in there and I would love to get rid of half of my cabinets so I can make a whole wall dedicated to bulletin board space.
     
  12. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    My building is 6 years old, and it's an old grocery store that was gutted and turned into or school. I actually love it. We make a giant square. :)

    I have seen some really poorly designed schools, and I think it's just because to some extent the law forces the district to choose the lowest bidder on a project.
     
  13. Mellz Bellz

    Mellz Bellz Comrade

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    My building is set up in pods by grade level instead of wings. All the grade levels are arranged in sort of a circular pod and you can pretty much walk from classroom to classroom because there aren't really walls. The rooms are shaped funny, sort of like pie shaped if that makes sense. They are really small and the shape makes organizing things really tough.

    My room was in the Kindergarten pod so it was a bit bigger, but still a very funny shape. Wall space seemed to be an issue as well as where to arrange bookcases and stuff. Storage was also a big issue because teaching multiple grades I tended to accumulate A LOT of stuff.

    This year though I am moving to the middle school which is a newer building. I've only been there once and I think the rooms were okay although I will most likely have an office versus a classroom since I'll be inclusion.
     
  14. TeachinHicks

    TeachinHicks Comrade

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    Yes there is only one teacher bathroom in our whole building...grrrrr
     
  15. ami6880

    ami6880 Companion

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    My school is fairly new...8 years old, and while it is a very nice school there are some things that are annoying. We have motion detected lights, soon as the kids leave they are set to go out every 5 minutes, if I am sitting at my desk they constantly go out and I have to get up and move around the room to get them back on, after a while I usually just give up and sit in the dark.

    We have a lot of storage space, but very little wall space. I have one full wall of cabinets and cubbies and the opposite wall are two windows which take up the entire wall. Both of these walls are the longer walls of course. I also only have 1 bb...yes 1. It is tiny as well, probably about 5 sq feet. I make makeshift bb's on another wall which is completely magnetic.

    I also have the outlet problems that many of you have, I have 2 additional outlets other than my desk outlet. One is back in a corner where I have my library and the other is on a counter in front of a window...thats it.
     
  16. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    This is my biggest problem. Our whole building has 850 students, with 4 wings (and two floors), and yet only 1 teacher bathroom. It's also at the far end of the building from me. I basically cannot use a bathroom during a passing period unless I use the student one. BLEH
     
  17. karebear76

    karebear76 Habitué

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    I have 4 outlets total. 1 on each wall, including behind the storage/bulletin board wall.

    It's very frustrating.
     
  18. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    I can honestly say my building is designed pretty well, probably because it's only 6 years old. The office, enhancement classrooms, library and gym are all in the center. There are 3 wings (k-1, 2-3, 4-5) and the cafeteria is off to one side of the k-1 wing.
     
  19. BookshelfAmy

    BookshelfAmy Rookie

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    In some of our classrooms, the only built-in storage is a locker in the wall. Not a closet. A LOCKER. We've also got the electrical outlet problem, and giant baseboard heaters that no longer work but eat up wall/floor space, and solid ceilings (which means that all of our duct work and computer/electrical cords are exposed). But the school was built in the 50's, so I guess you have to expect some idiosyncrasies.
     
  20. juliechsa

    juliechsa Rookie

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    I have the same outlet issues and motion sensor light issues as some of you have described. My biggest issue is that my phone outlet is right next to the connecting door to my co-teacher's classroom, which is no where near my desk. I can only see the blinking voice mail light if I stand in one certain spot in front of my whiteboard.
     
  21. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    In our old building, there were three adult bathrooms. Two were off-limits to teachers. GRRRR.

    I have no idea what the situation will be in the new building... hopefully a few more?
     
  22. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    None of the rooms in our building are square.
     
  23. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    I think there are five wings jutting out from our school at odd angles and in odd places. All of them are additions built at various times. The original school, which was one long hallway with around eight classrooms was torn down several years ago. It was replaced with a covered walk in order to reach the 2nd grade building. That is now way out there away from everyone else.

    All the other wings are spokes off of the door that leads to the covered walk. It's strange. But very new looking since everything was renovated this summer. All coordinated with same colors and same carpet. Just an odd shape.
     
  24. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Why do outlets have to be by the floor? When we built a new building, I was on the committee. We asked that one wall have a outlet for four items by a bulletin board half way up the wall. The male builder thought that was stupid, so he wouldn't do it. BUT he did put the intercom button four feet from the floor a foot and a half from the door...yes, everytime the kids lined up, one would lean against it. But we were stupid.
     
  25. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    I worked in a school like that! The rooms were TRIANGLUAR! No 90* angles anywhere. It made for some weird furniture placement.

    I really like my school and never want to leave. I'm dreaming that someone just renovates it for me one day. :D
     
  26. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Our school is such that to go anywhere - libary, office, cafeteria, another room, you have to go outside.

    There is no door from the office to the cafeteria, even though the two share a wall.

    The school was build for about 450 students. We now have almost 900. All they've added were portables and one or two bathrooms.

    We also have one faculty restroom for about 45 staff.

    The school is a security sieve. All visitors come and go through gates that must remain open all the time. We hope they go to the office and check in.
     
  27. ShanaNicole

    ShanaNicole Rookie

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    Hahaha my classroom is tiny, all rooms are connected so I have a door on each side of my room, I have NO storage aside from bookcases that have nowhere to go, I only have 1 small white board, no smart boards, ELMOs, projectors, etc... there are so many problems its overwhelming.
     
  28. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    The bathroom situation is horrible. On each floor there are 2 girls and 2 boys bathrooms with 4 stalls each for 500+ students. All 500+ kids only have passing together before school and after school, but we often have 180-270 students in the hall at the same time for passing period. There are always students who have to rush to class without using the bathroom.
     
  29. AnonyMS

    AnonyMS SpEd Para! BASE room aide! RTI Facilitator!

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    There is no sink in our teachers' lounge (where the fridge and microwave are).
     
  30. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    My school was built in the '60's.

    The walls are made of cinder block. Heat flows right out of them. But then again, in the '60's, heat was dirt cheap. They could afford to crank up the boiler.

    Lots of local schools were built at the same time. At that time, land was cheap (yes, this is Nassau County NY--- times have changed a LOT!!!) but construction costs were high. So I've been in lots of local schools that seem to meander over the property. (Those of you who know the area, I mean schools like Syosset HS or Ward Melville HS)

    I think that in most cases, it's less a case of idiocy and more a question of either the economy or the prevailing education trends a the time the building was constructed.
     
  31. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Can you invest in an oscilating fan and put it under the motion detector?
     
  32. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    My school is five years old and the biggest problem is thelocation of the internet jacks. They are limiting and can make you stick your teacher computer in an awkward location. the student computers have to be placed in the center of one wall and makes the space less efficient.

    The school is three floors but somehow it is spread out too. I feel like I walk miles to get from place to place, but the cool thing is the kitchen is shared by an elementary school that is connected. Each school operates seperately and has different cafeterias, but the kitchen crew works together. Pretty neat.
     
  33. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    Aug 8, 2011

     
  34. geek412

    geek412 Rookie

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    I'm stunned at my first classroom.

    My room is fit 3/4 laboratory, and 1/4 classroom, for approximately 25 students.

    In the classroom section, there's no way to fit 25 individual desks. I will have to bring in large rectangular lab benches or trapezoidal tables. Somehow I must also accomodate six large & old computers.

    In the laboratory section, I have six hexagonal lab desks. They are in usable, because in the middle of them there are fully functional sinks. Above the lab benches are great storage areas - if you could reach around the sink to grab what's up there.

    I'm at a loss as to what to do.:lol:
     
  35. MissJill

    MissJill Cohort

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    Our school is pretty bad over all. It's not very nice looking (pretty ugly if you ask me). The classrooms are small, the heating system is the worst! It is on full blast all the time, we even had window air conditioners that were installed for a child that needed to be used year round (even when snow was on the ground).

    You can also tell that at the time the school was built (which I believe was in the 60's) they just bought whatever was on sale. All the chalkboards are different, all the desks are different/falling apart, oh and there is no kitchen, so the have to bring the food in everyday for the kids. Rather weird.
     
  36. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Talk to last year's teacher, or someone else in the Science department.

    You're new to the school, but they managed with the setup before. No sense re-inventing the wheel-- ask what's worked before and see whether it will work for you.
     
  37. terptoteacher

    terptoteacher Connoisseur

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    The original part of my school is only 10 years old. Those rooms are great with the exception of a built in tv cabinet that if you're at your desk, blocks the view of the door and the clock.

    The area grew so much that 5 years ago they built two new wings. The rooms are almost identical to the original but there isn't a tv cabinet since all rooms have a doc camera and projector.
    BUT, the new rooms have cupboards that are about 1.5 inches shorter than the originals so you can't put a regular size binder in there and expect to shut the door. They are pretty much useless.

    My only problem is the design of the water faucet in the sink. The sink has a regular faucet and a drinking faucet for the kids to use, but the stream of the kids drinking faucet only clears the edge of the sink by about 1/2 an inch so as soon as they put their mouth into the stream, the water changes course and they end up with wet shirts and the counter and floor area are wet.
     
  38. Good Doobie

    Good Doobie Rookie

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    No, our new one was designed by one of our students, obviously not a total idiot.
     
  39. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    That's one more than we have!!!
     
  40. midwestteacher

    midwestteacher Cohort

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    I think most of our problems stem from the age of the building and the fact that it has been added on to about four times. For example, I have only one original electrical outlet in my classroom - at the front of the room. They have added new outlets over the years, but since the building is cinderblock, the outlets stick out of the walls about 3" which makes it hard to arrange the classroom because furniture won't sit flush to the walls.
    Our other big issue is the main entrance faces the parking lot. But you have to walk down a hall and past four classrooms to get to the main office. You can get to the main office straight from the front doors that face the front lawn, but no one wants to walk past a door to get to another door. I have maintained for years that this is a security issue. Someone could walk in the door, straight into a classroom, and do whatever and the office would never know they were there. I have had kids that graduated two years ago show up in my room. "Hey teacher, how is it going?" I have asked that the doors to the parking lot be locked so that everyone has to enter the building through the front doors and walk right by the office. This seems to be too difficult of a solution.
     
  41. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I think those open room concepts are an absolute nightmare any way you slice it. A kid with any kind of hearing loss is at a distinct advantage. I don't even like the ones with open doors between rooms. Naturally I have a severe hearing loss but even a child with a mild hearing loss is going to struggle more. Oy! I beat my head over this concept even though I know none of you had any choice in the matter. Pet peeve of building design and education design. What were they thinking?!
     

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