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Designing Healthy Education Environments

COVID Designing Healthy Education 2

SUNY Geneseo Healthy Dormitory Audit Report

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bergmann’s Architecture & Engineering experts have identified ways we can leverage our specialized expertise to help our educational communities.

Through our team's work over the past year with district and school administrators, higher education leaders and facilities managers, we know that everyone is at a different point in their planning and implementation. Creating safer learning environments for the long term requires a collaborative and customized approach, and one that prioritizes air quality and building mechanicals, along with design of the physical space.

Our team has developed a program for school districts and universities, starting with an existing facilities assessment to fully understand areas for improvement, and resulting in a customized report outlining opportunities and recommendations the district or campus can consider for improving the quality of health for students, teachers and staff.

Building Health Assessment Outline

Project success starts with an in-depth assessment of your facilities and spaces. Our team will work closely with your experts to:

  • Assess the building site and entries to provide adequate space, reduce bottle-necking and travel distances and incorporate use of outdoor spaces.
  • Evaluate building circulation paths to reduce high-density intersections.
  • Consider use of building spaces for resilient flexibility, function and comfort that enable flexible and adaptable use of learning spaces.
  • Evaluate existing materials in every space within the buildings, including administration offices, classrooms, instructional spaces and common areas (i.e. Cafeterias, gyms, music suites, hallways, restrooms, locker rooms). Identify existing materials and opportunities for antimicrobial or antibacterial options when available.
    • Review each space’s floor, wall and ceiling materials, HVAC louvers and ductwork for dust/dirt and wall protection to better understand the cleanability of each material present and improvement recommendations for each.
    • Identify highly used areas with greatest opportunities for impact, such as handrails, cafeteria counters and tables, bathroom fixtures and locker rooms.
  • Review opportunities for hands-free systems that could reduce the exchange of illnesses. Providing options for technology changes to the doors, drinking fountains and light switches to work by motion sensor, push pads or voice controls. Consider proposing the use of materials that will minimize germ transfer.
EBP Mechanical Systems for Clean Manufacturing lorez
  • Evaluate existing engineering systems such as electrical, plumbing and mechanical systems to find opportunities to improve quality in the spaces they service.
    • Determining the existing HVAC system regarding ventilation, exhaust and filtration systems being used within each space.
    • Understand each building’s maintenance program and assessing if changes need to be made to clean and sanitize these systems with increased regularity. Work with the district regarding the maintenance schedule moving forward.
    • Increase opportunity for exhausting air from the space when airborne illnesses are more prevalent and determine if systems need to be revised to improve air quality.
    • Provide costs for mechanical system changes, as well as options to provide UV-C within mechanical systems that have been known to inactivate viruses, bacteria, mold, mildew and fungi.
    • Evaluate existing lighting systems and determine options for providing UV-C lighting fixtures.
    • Review existing water quality and distribution systems, including evaluating practices for testing lead quantities within each fixture.
  • Evaluate nurses’ offices and health centers to find opportunities to improve the existing layouts to reduce the spread of illnesses from students that are unwell and those that visit the nurse’s office for daily medications. Recommendations to improve the existing lighting systems and upgrades to HVAC control systems to increase the air exchanges to continually remove airborne illnesses from within the space, isolating the office from the rest of the facility.
  • Provide an assessment for the non-instructional spaces that could be harmful to the entire building.
  • Evaluate the mechanical spaces, crawl spaces, basements and custodial spaces to provide recommendations that address moisture, mildew, mold and chemical odors that could have a potential impact on the health quality of the students and staff.
  • Review the existing conditions of hazardous materials within the building to determine if these could be a potential cause for concern.
  • Review the cleanliness of existing air distribution ductwork system.

Contact Jim Hickey, AIA, Education Practice Leader, to learn more about how Bergmann's education team can support you.