Big Picture School Facilities Design and Construction Step-By-Step Guide

Big Picture schools, known for their innovative designs, create physical environments that reflect the Big Picture philosophy of educating one student at a time through real-world learning and community engagement. The design of all Big Picture schools is guided by the question, “What is best for students?” The company employs an Integrated Design Process which involves all stakeholders in all stages of the design and construction process. In the end, Big Picture schools are flexible and autonomous. They accommodate individual needs, support meaningful relationships, and serve as centers for the neighboring community. This guide describes the step-by-step design and construction process used by the Big Picture Company.
Big Picture facilities guide (pdf)


EdVisions Facility Planning Guidebook

This guidebook, created for planning EdVisions schools, aims to provide educators, policy makers, and other stakeholders with the tools they need to work with the “technical people”—planners, architects, and engineers—involved in school facilities design. Organized in to seven sections, the resource aims to provide an overview of the entire planning and design process and includes basic information about project budgeting as well.
EdVisions facility guidebook (pdf)


Facilities Design Considerations for Small Schools That Share a Building

This resource, from the KnowledgeWorks Foundation, forwards a set of design principles for small schools that share a building. The recommendations are based on a review of available literature, conversations with educators and school facilities personnel, and numerous school site visits.
Facilities design considerations (pdf)


HTH Facilities Design Guide

Taking a principles-based approach to planning and design, High Tech High’s guiding principles of personalization, common intellectual mission, and adult-world connection underline its building design. All High Tech High buildings emphasize flexibility, team-teaching, project-based learning, and exhibition and presentation of student work – focuses of the academic program as well. High Tech High facilities contain a variety of spaces not typically found in traditional schools including: a commons area, student workstations, project rooms, seminar rooms, shared teacher offices, specialty labs, gallery spaces, studio spaces, teaching clusters, and outdoor learning spaces. This guide discusses site and building selection, building design “rules of thumb” and design elements, and architectural design elements.
Overview (pdf)
Site selection (pdf)
Building selection (pdf)
Building design rules of thumb (pdf)
Architectural design elements (pdf)


School Design Process: Seattle School District

Traditionally, architects base school designs on a predefined set of guidelines that set space requirements for elementary, middle, and high schools. Such a process can limit innovation and change. In January 2002, Seattle Public Schools’ Facilities, Planning, and Enrollment Department revised the process for designing new schools and renovating existing schools. With the help of Victoria Bergsagel, Stephanie Haskins, Rick Lear, and Lorne McConachie, facilities and educational leaders devised a process to bring architects and school communities together in more meaningful ways. With this new design process, each school in Seattle will be given more flexibility in adapting design to fit the needs of its learning community. The new process also emphasizes the importance of aligning the design with the school's educational transformation plan.
Seattle school design manual (pdf)