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Giving an Old Building New Life as a School

Recycling is a hot topic in many schools, but this month's issue of District Administration looks at recycling entire buildings for use as schools. In "RE-Construction," writer Peggy Bresnick Kendler looks at "adaptive reuse" where old or abandoned buildings are repurposed for use as schools. While not a trend, adaptive reuse is a viable and valuable option for schools, according to Molly Smith, associate vice president of NANA Consulting Services, an educational facilities planning consultant firm based in Mesa, Ariz. "A lot of districts just get in the mode of looking for land instead of looking at the resources within their communities," says Smith, who is quoted in the article. Before moving forward, however, districts should hire the right experts to make sure an old building isn't a fire hazard, Smith advises. The National Clearinghouse on Educational Facilities offers a more detailed look at the phenomenon in a 2003 briefing paper.

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