If there is a new school in a local community, there is a good chance that architect Dan Boggio had something to do with its design. But for Boggio, the Founder & Executive Chairman of PBK, the largest K-12 design firm in the United States, school modernization is more than just grand structures. He believes that it is an important part of helping to transform an education system facing serious challenges today — including the exodus of public school teachers brought on by COVID-19.
He discussed the issue on a recent episode of Pinkston’s Coffee with Closers podcast.
“I could show you research where a child who engages with their school facility — relates to what it looks like and how it makes them feel — experiences education in a way that changes their life,” Boggio said.
He explains how the removal of structural and curriculum barriers prevalent in schools built during the 1950’s and 1960’s have “humanized the entire education process,” creating a more appealing and engaging environment for students. He says educators now more than ever have the opportunity to design and implement programs tailored to the individual student— and better prepare America’s next-generation workforce to compete and win in a global economy.
Studies demonstrate how fueling immersive and impactful learning is making a difference.
Biophilic design is just one of the many examples, an innovative learning environment that incorporates nature into indoor settings. A 2019 pilot study found an average 3.3% increase in test scores among students in biophilic design classrooms. Dan stresses how in some cases, the schools that kids go to are the nicest environments they’ll experience in their life. He adds “they can’t wait to get there–they just love it!”
In addition to his architectural work, Boggio is focused on driving a national initiative with key stakeholders, including Google, Citadel Sciences and leading education experts from around the country, to create a “School of the Future” nonprofit. His goal is to help improve every aspect of educational delivery and outcomes, from raising test scores, to improving indoor air quality and even enhancing school safety and security.
“We must have one central location where the very best practices are easily accessible. We want to offer compelling resources and symposiums that ultimately help transform education in this country for good.”
In terms of public infrastructure spending, school facilities are the second largest sector after highways. The Biden-Harris Action Plan for Building Better School Infrastructure includes a $500 million grant program to help schools, particularly those in need, become more energy efficient.
For more information on PBK’s work, visit www.pbk.com.