Introduction to School Facilities Maintenance Planning
|| To explain how clean, orderly, safe, cost-effective,
and instructionally supportive school facilities enhance education
|| To introduce the purpose, structure, and format
of the Planning Guide
This Planning Guide includes the
following chapters and information:
Chapter 1: Introduction to School Facilities
Maintenance Planning describes the purpose, scope, intended audience,
and organization of this publication.
Chapter 2: Planning for School Facilities Maintenance
discusses the vital role that facilities maintenance planning plays
in the management of an effective learning environment. It also presents
a process for developing a vision statement, justifying planning from
a budgetary perspective, using data to inform decision-making, and identifying
the components of a good facilities maintenance plan.
The condition of a school facility is not just an issue for the facility
managerit affects the staff, students, and entire educational community.
Chapter 3: Facility Audits: Knowing What You Have
focuses on the necessary, but sometimes overlooked, step of inventorying
school buildings and grounds. It also describes how to collect, manage,
and use data from a facilities audit.
Chapter 4. Providing a Safe Environment for
Learning highlights many safety-related issues
that demand the absolute attention of both facilities maintenance planners
and staff who are responsible for the operation of a school building.
Chapter 5. Maintaining School Facilities and Grounds
details "best practice" strategies for maintaining facilities and
grounds. It also reminds readers that an ounce of prevention is worth a
pound of cure.
Chapter 6. Effectively Managing Staff and Contractors
outlines "best practice" strategies for managing employees and outside contractors.
It also emphasizes the importance of sound human resources management as
a precondition for effective facilities maintenance.
Chapter 7. Evaluating Facilities Maintenance Efforts
recommends ongoing evaluation of an education organization's facility
maintenance program and presents various approaches for accomplishing this
Appendix A. Chapter
Checklists combines all the chapter checklists into a single
Appendix B. Additional
Resources combines all the chapter lists of additional resources
into a single alphabetical list.
Appendix C. State
School Facilities Web sites lists state-specific facilities web sites,
including many developed by states and state departments of education.
An education organization must plan to meet the challenges of effective
facilities maintenance. It is simply too big (and important) of a job to
be addressed haphazardly.
Appendix D. Audit
Form Template is a sample facility audit form designed for education
Appendix E. Record
Layout for a Computerized Work Order System is a resource for education
organizations as they select data elements to be included in a work order
Model Job Description for a Custodial Worker is a resource for education
organizations as they develop their own job descriptions.
Appendix G. Useful
Interview Questions lists questions that can guide school district personnel
as they interview potential employees.
Appendix H. Using
Mapping during the Interview Process describes a process that can help
decision-makers identify the qualities of an "ideal" candidate for a given
Sample Customer Survey Form is a resource for school districts as they
develop their own evaluation materials.
Index provides an alphabetical list of key
topics in the document.
1. A positive relationship exists
between school conditions and student achievement and behavior. 1
2. Facility condition may have a stronger
effect on student performance than the influences of family background,
socioeconomic status, school attendance, and behavior combined. 2
3. Students are more likely to prosper
when their environment is conducive to learning. Well-designed facilities
send a powerful message to kids about the importance a community places
on education. 3
In Every Chapter...
Each chapter of this Planning Guide includes:
of Contents - to provide an overview and simplify navigation
within the chapter
Goals - to state the major purposes of the chapter
Practice Recommendations - to describe how to accomplish the
- to show how maintenance issues can play out in the real world
Asked Questions - to address anticipated concerns of readers
- to summarize recommendations
Resources - to point readers to related information
Commonly Asked Questions
What is a facilities maintenance plan?
facilities maintenance plan details an organization's strategy for
proactively maintaining its facilities. Effective maintenance plans
reflect the vision and mission of the organization, include an accurate
assessment of existing facilities, incorporate the perspectives
of various stakeholder groups, and focus on preventive measures
that ensure that capital investment is managed responsibly. As with
any successful management endeavor, good facilities maintenance
plans integrate best practices of planning, implementation, and
Facilities Resources ... Just a Mouse Click Away
The National Clearinghouse for
Educational Facilities (NCEF) is the nation's primary source
of comprehensive information about school planning, design,
financing, construction, modernization, and maintenance issues.
NCEF's web site, which can be found at http://www.edfacilities.org,
Resource Lists - current, subject-specific,
compilations of information on more than 100 school facilities
topics. The lists include links to online publications and
related web sites, as well as descriptions of books, studies,
reports, and journal articles.
Publications - concise explorations
of facilities-related subjects and issues that concern educators
and affect learning. Available in paper copies or online.
News summaries of local,
regional, and national developments regarding educational
facilities, including links to online news stories and related
NCEF information resources.
Calendar - complete and timely
information on regional and national events related to school
Gallery - photographs and
project information on award-winning school designs.
Construction Data - statistics
on nationwide school construction activity, with links to
sources of school construction and cost estimating data.
Ask A Question - responses
by NCEF reference staff to school facilities questions submitted
via an online question form. Queries are answered within two
to four business days.
Newsletter - highlights of
the most recent NCEF publications, events, and news sent to
users periodically through an e-mail publication, EdFacilities
Links - links to professional
organizations, federal, state, and municipal resources, academic
research centers, media, and products and services.
Search - direct access through
keywords or phrases to NCEF's extensive database of information
about school facilities.
So whether you are searching for information about capital
improvement programs, indoor air quality, or school size and
security, visit http://www.edfacilities.org
or call toll-free: 888-552-0624.
Planning for school facilities maintenance helps to ensure that school
buildings are: Clean, Orderly, Safe, Cost-effective and Instructionally
How will a maintenance plan make our schools
Learning does not occur in a vacuum. Students and staff thrive
in an orderly, clean, and safe environment. Classrooms that are well
ventilated, suitably lighted, and properly maintained actually facilitate
learning. Poor air quality, on the other hand, negatively affects
alertness and results in increased student and teacher absences, which
can have a corresponding impact on student achievement. Moreover,
appropriate facilities maintenance extends the life span of older
facilities and maximizes the useful life of newer facilities. Thus,
a facilities maintenance plan contributes to both the instructional
and financial well-being of an education organization and its community.
Why should our school district rethink the
facilities plan that we wrote five years ago?
Facilities plans, like buildings, don't age well unless they
are maintained on an ongoing basis. For starters, maintenance strategies
depend on the condition of facilities, which changes over time. If
the condition of your buildings, grounds, and equipment have changed
in the past five years (which they probably have), your facilities
plan should be updated to clarify those steps that need to be taken
to maintain these valuable assets.
Why do I need this Planning Guide to
tell me how to keep our schools and grounds in good condition?
Your organization may already be keeping its schools and
grounds in good condition. If so, spending a few hours reviewing
the recommendations in this Planning Guide is a small investment
relative to the amount of energy you already put into your facilities
maintenance efforts-especially if there's a chance (and there is)
that you may find something new and useful in this publication.
If your organization doesn't keep its schools and grounds as well
as it might, then read on.
effort has been made to verify the accuracy of all URLs in this Guide
at the time of publication. If a Web address is no longer correct, try
using the root directory to search for a page that may have moved. For
example, if the link to http://www.epa.gov/iaq/schools/performance.html
is not working, try http://www.epa.gov/
and search for "IAQ."
To err is human... but you'd like to avoid
this kind of thing all the same!
school board was happy, the community was proud, and the students
were ecstatic. The high school had finally invested in a gymnasium
that would meet the needs of the physical education department,
the athletic department, and community organizations alike.
After only four years of use, the facility looked to be in
great shape, so everyone was shocked to find that school had
been canceled on a Monday morning so that the maintenance
staff could combat a flood that had gushed across the gym
floor and into the main building.
What had happened? A $12 gasket had failed-but it happened
to be the one that sealed the 40,000 gallon backup water tank
that lay adjacent to the gymnasium. To make matters worse, the
tank's emergency drain was covered with boxes of books (in a
misguided attempt to increase the building's storage space).
The unfortunate result: school was canceled for two days, the
emergency response cost $26,000, and the gymnasium was closed
for five weeks while $160,000 worth of repair work was performed.
How could this problem have been avoided? In truth, there
were several things that could have saved the district from
- Acceptable Maintenance - Regular
equipment inspections of the backup water tank might have
identified a defective
gasket and prevented the flood.
- Proper Planning - The water
tank should have been placed in a more appropriate location
than next to the gymnasium.
- Appropriate Operations - Someone
should have realized that covering an emergency drain with
boxes wasn't an
acceptable storage system!
These and other issues are addressed in this Planning Guide.
Developing a coordinated maintenance plan is the first, and most important,
step in exercising control over the destiny of your school buildings!
Deteriorating School Facilities and Student
A report documenting that many facilities in American public schools
are in disrepair-a situation with implications on the morale, health,
and learning of students and teachers. Frazier, Linda M. (1993) ERIC
Clearinghouse for Educational Management, Eugene, OR.
Educational Performance, Environmental Management,
and Cleaning Effectiveness in School Environments
A report demonstrating how effective cleaning programs enhance school
and student self-image, and may promote higher academic attendance
and performance. Berry, Michael A. (2001) Carpet and Rug Institute,
Facilities Information Management: A Guide
for State and Local School Districts
A publication from the National Forum on Education Statistics that
defines a set of data elements that are critical to answering policy
questions related to elementary and secondary school facility management.
Facilities Maintenance Task Force, National Forum on Education Statistics
(2003) National Center for Education Statistics, Washington, DC.
Impact of Facilities on Learning
A list of links, books, and journal articles examining the association
between student achievement and the physical environment of school
buildings and grounds. The National Clearinghouse for Educational
Facilities, Washington, DC.
Indoor Air Quality and Student Performance
A report examining how indoor air quality (IAQ) affects a child's
ability to learn, including case studies of schools that successfully
addressed their indoor air problems, lessons learned, and long-term
practices and policies that have emerged. Indoor Environments Division,
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2000) U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency, Washington, DC.
Meeting legal standards with regard to facilities maintenance is
the bare minimum for responsible school management. Planners must
also strive to meet the spirit of the laws and the long-term needs
of the organization.
Introductory Facilities Maintenance Checklist
More information about accomplishing these checkpoints can be found
on the pages listed in the right-hand column.
||Are top-level decision-makers aware that school facilities maintenance
affects the instructional and financial well-being of the organization?
||Are top-level decision-makers aware that the occurrence of facilities
problems (and lack thereof ) is most closely associated with organizationally
controlled issues such as staffing levels, staff training, and
other management practices?
||Are top-level decision-makers aware that having a coordinated
and comprehensive maintenance plan is the first and most important
step in exercising control over the destiny of the organization's
||Has facilities maintenance been given priority status within
the organization, as evidenced by top-level decision-makers' commitment
to read this Planning Guide and refer to these guidelines
while planning and coordinating facilities maintenance?
||Do the organization's facilities maintenance decision-makers
include school administrators, facilities/custodial representatives,
teachers, parents, students, and community members?
J. B. Lyons, Do School Facilities Really Impact a Child's Education?
(Scottsdale, AZ: Council of Educational Facility Planners International,
2 L. Morgan, Where Children
Learn: Facilities Conditions and Student Test Performance in Milwaukee
Public Schools (Scottsdale, AZ: Council of Educational Facility Planners
3 F. Withrow, H. Long, and
G. Max, Preparing Schools and School Systems for the 21st Century
(Arlington, VA: American Association of School Administrators, 1999).