The first step to outfitting a school on a budget? Stop sacrificing quality.

When it comes to outfitting educational facilities, school districts are often faced with tight budgets – and little chance for upgrades in the near future. This makes it more crucial than ever to factor life cycle costs into the materials and equipment purchased for your school building. But with such a long list of options to consider, where are schools to start? School Planning & Management recommends evaluating quality above all else:

“In the end, the key to wise purchasing is quality. Whether you are buying mechanical systems, lighting, flooring, copiers, computers or furniture, look for the highest quality your budget can afford.”

The journal dives into lighting, mechanical systems, copiers, computers, flooring and furniture, stating that these items in the school system require a different kind of analysis. In some cases, lifetime cost analysis works. But in other cases, it is more important to determine appropriate replacement schedules. For example, LED lighting lasts longer and cuts down on replacement costs significantly.

When it comes to materials for flooring, many districts are opting out of VCT, which, while cheap on the onset, requires regular costly maintenance. Affordable, low-maintenance alternatives – such as polished concrete and rubber – offer longer warranties and less maintenance.

When it comes to outfitting educational facilities, tension between quality and budget will always exist. But rather than sacrificing quality, turn to materials and equipment that pay for themselves in the long run.

Read the full press release for more details on technology initiatives in schools nationwide.