23 things you need to know about charter schools


Written by Robert Cassidy
Editorial Director, Building Design + Construction

(Select sections taken from article)

Step outside your comfort zone

Global Village Academy, a language-immersion K-8 charter in Aurora, Colo., wanted a building that reflected the international nature of the program, “so we did some fun stuff with color and tilt-up and sealed concrete floors,” says Adele Willson, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, Principal, Slaterpaull Architects  “That’s not something we could have done for a neighborhood public school.”

Make the owner’s rep your buddy

Slaterpaull’s Willson says quite a few of the more than 30 charter schools she has designed hired owner’s representatives—and she’s glad for it. “Some of the ORs have targeted the charters as clients and understand their budgets and operations,” says Willson. “They can help navigate the process, especially when there’s a charter group that needs that kind of help.”

Keep building systems simple

Most charters don’t have the facilities staff to operate sophisticated building automation systems, says Slaterpaull Architects’ Willson. “We’ll still fight for daylighting systems and occupancy sensors, because those dollars come back to them in energy savings, but we can’t always justify the cost for higher-end mechanical systems.”

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