When building schools, some school boards are beginning to use a new concept called the “Kids First Approach.” This idea focuses on creating schools that are safe and provide a healthy environment so the students can focus on learning.
Such school construction projects are designed with fire safety, building security, maintenance, durability, energy efficiency and noise management in mind. But topping the list is remediation and control of mold.
“To a school administrator, mold is a four-letter word,” said Don L. Bell, superintendent of the Northern Lebanon School District in Pennsylvania. Bell has spearheaded the “Kids First Approach” and supports concrete masonry design as one of the best ways to achieve it.
When Bell began plans for an addition and renovation at Northern Lebanon Middle School in 2002, he and architect Jay Darkey of JPD Architects agreed to build with concrete masonry.
“We have a vision to prevent mold in the first place and concrete masonry is one of the best construction materials to prevent mold. I have seen the benefits of using concrete masonry in the past and the horror stories when...