How to Use Modular to Improve Education Facilities

 For education institutions, the need for space can occur at a moment's notice. With large amounts of new students coming in and out, classrooms and office space are often needed to accommodate the growth. However, for many districts, it may be difficult to address this problem because the school cannot function as an education facility and construction site at the same time. Loud construction and hazardous areas do not foster an ideal environment to learn. Since it's tough to make a classroom appear out of thin air, many of these problems go unresolved, and school overcrowding is the result.

To combat these problems, school districts do not have many options. They may finance a new school facility, hoping that the growth in students stays on a consistent pace, but that would be a risky investment that will take a while to materialize and be tough to afford. They could add on to the existing school building, but as mentioned before, the school would probably have to be out for summer in order to get any major changes done. Plus, if the project runs behind schedule, the construction crew would be rushed to finish the work, which could lead to poor craftsmanship and careless mistakes.

So, many districts find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place. They need to provide their students with a better environment to learn, without disrupting their current environment, while staying within the confines of their budget. However, there is a final option that takes into account the time constraint, the site disruption, and the affordability of the project, modular construction.

Modular construction provides these school districts with classroom and office space that perfectly fits into their scope. With the building itself being manufactured in a factory-like environment, all that is left is the installation at the actual construction site. This means there will absolutely minimal site disruption with far less large machinery and safety hazards. Plus, since the site will be prepped while the building is being made, the entire project will be finished in a fraction of the time of stick-built because both of these phases are acting concurrently. Finally, since the pieces of the modular structure are mass produced, they are produced at a lower cost, allowing for the entire structure to be made in the most efficient manner possible. Overall, modular construction can potentially solve many of the main problems school systems have with expansion, but let's look at a few specific examples and scenarios where modular buildings are really able to shine.

Modular Classrooms

The main area of concern for school systems with this problem is, of course, classroom space for their students. No school system wants their classrooms to get to the point to where their students are not individually taken care of. First, there needs to be enough teachers. But even after that, there needs to be a room for the children to learn in. Teachers can be hired within days; however, a classroom cannot be built in days. With modular construction, a classroom can be put in place in a matter of weeks permanently or temporarily. This cost effective solution allows school systems to expand quickly and, more importantly, expand the way they need to. Although modular buildings are constructed in a laboratory, they are still designed to the customer's exact needs. Due to binder-post and panel system, each structure can be designed and constructed to fit any unique area.

Office Build Outs

Along with growing classes sizes comes an increase in the faculty the school will need. An often-overlooked part of running a school is all the people that are involved, outside of the teachers. For a functioning school, there will need to be administration workers, receptionists, nurses, librarians, teaching assistants, custodians, cafeteria workers, and security personnel. For the most part, these positions will have to scale with the number of students the school is currently serving, meaning they are going to need a place to work. Fitting into a current office structure, wall panel systems can section off an area to allow for more specialized work. Adding in wall partitioning can allow the nurse her own examining room and even waiting area, allowing privacy for both the nurse and the students. The same rules apply for the majority of the staff. A closed off, personal office will often create a more calm and controlled work environment, allowing additional concentration on the task at hand.

Security Booths

Another major point of administrating a school system is ensuring the security and safety of all the people that attend. Guard booths provide a physical barrier to entry and a mental one as well. For example, at a typical high school, a guard booth will act as an access point to the entire facility. The guard on duty will monitor each vehicle passing in and out of the parking area to ensure they have the proper permit to come through or they are registered on the parent pick-up. These guard booths are very efficient in catching people trying to unlawfully get onto school grounds. However, what is possibly more important, the guard booth acts as a deterrent to would-be trespassers by just being there as surveillance. They do not try to get on school grounds due to the presence of access control.

Modular construction helps in this area because of how flexible and proven the structures are. In some cases, schools may need a guard booth quickly, something to house security personnel by the beginning of the school year. In this case, there is a "quick ship" guard booth that can be manufactured and shipped within five days of the purchase order. However, other schools look for a building that fits into their surrounding architecture. In that case, there are more unique design options that can be modified to fit existing buildings.

Press Boxes

On the lighter side of things, modular units work great as press boxes if the school district is looking to upgrade their sports facility. Similar to tower systems, press boxes make use of two modular systems , mezzanines and panelized buildings. With lead times that far outpace traditional construction, modular press boxes allow a boost to a stadium's appeal in a month's time and without all the site disruption. Similar to guard booths, press boxes can be designed to fit into the surrounding scenery in both style and color.

Fire Rated Walls

Finally, one of the other advantages of wall panel system is that they can be constructed out of a number of different materials to satisfy each project's needs. In the case of schools, many institutes look for a wall system that can provide superior protection in the case of emergencies, in this case, fire. There are a number of fire resistant wall systems from Class A rated panels to 1-hour fire rated panels that are designed to withstand a constant flame for an hour while still holding it's structural integrity. For a school system, these fire-resistant wall panels provide added safety in areas that are more susceptible to fire damage or hold a high volume of people and students. These wall panels are tested and certified by an independent agency.

Panel Built, Inc. is a modular construction company, manufacturing modular offices, mezzanines, guard houses, and more. Being in business for over 20 years, Panel Built has completed modular construction projects across the United States and internationally.

Nathaniel Otto


Panel Built, Inc.

800.636.3873 ext 240

Panel Built, Inc.

302 Beasley St.

Blairsville, GA 30512

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