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Examining the Process of School Facilities Planning: A Closer Look at the Educational Predesign and Design

Hower, Michael (2019) Examining the Process of School Facilities Planning: A Closer Look at the Educational Predesign and Design. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Facility design and the planning steps within this process are part of continued discourse among school design professionals and school officials. Historically, schools often mirrored architectural designs of a time-period or as a response to economic trends. The discourse has evolved over time, and recently, there has been an increasing focus on how facility design impacts teaching and learning. As a result, the actual predesigns and design phases are at the forefront of the debate. Since there are no widely established planning models for educators and architects, it is important to continually explore these phenomena which will ultimately provide clarity within the design process. This investigation sought to determine 1) What are school principals’ perceptions about their involvement in the predesign and design phases of school building? 2) What are school principals’ perceptions about the involvement of different stakeholder groups in the design of school facilities? 3) What are school building principals’ perceptions about the connection between the district vision and planning of the building? This study interviewed 14 administrators that experienced the design process as either current high school principals or former high school principals from school districts in western Pennsylvania. I selected the participants using PlanCon as the guiding criteria. Additionally, I completed the interviews in this investigation via a telephone call with each participant. The findings revealed that principals were not able to establish clear roles on the design team; however, they did indicate communication and safety were the most significant roles throughout the process. The findings also revealed that principals reported architects, superintendents, and school board members all had the largest extent of influence on the actual design. The data also illuminated a lack of consistency in the design team and levels of influence within each project. These findings provided insight into the level of connectivity between the facility design and the academic vision. The connection of the school design to the academic vision reported to having moderate connections when the design of the school included principal’s input. The participants also indicated that academic vision was not part of the actual process after the initial predesign phase. Future research would help shed light on the design process and members of the design team. Potentially, broadening the scope of this study to include more schools or different perspectives (i.e. superintendents, architects, teachers, etc.) would give enough insight into the design process to begin to develop best practices or protocols for predesign and design of schools.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Hower, Michaelmhh@pitt.edumhh8
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Kerr, Mary
Date: 26 June 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 27 February 2019
Approval Date: 26 June 2019
Submission Date: 13 May 2019
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 155
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Construction, design, predesign, architect, principal, environment
Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2019 18:59
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2019 18:59


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