Learning environment not only aligns with, but exceeds, district expectations.
Serving more than 22,000 students, Blue Valley School District takes a unique approach to ensuring academic success. The Overland Park, Kansas, district conducts a bi-annual survey to gather feedback directly from the community concerning the quality of the district’s 34 different schools, taking into consideration indoor air quality, acoustics and the elimination of chemicals needed for cleaning.
“Our district strives to provide our kids with an education beyond expectations,” says Becky Miller, communications specialist. “Our goal is to help each student experience unprecedented academic success and unparalleled personal growth.”
Careful consideration is given to district buildings being renovated, added or newly built. “The environment we work to achieve is one that promotes good student learning,” says Kent Andersen, design and construction project manager. “So, whether it’s indoor air quality (IAQ), materials selections, etc., all are expected to be done well. There are many studies about what provides for the best learning environments, and we work really hard to accomplish as much of that as possible.”
After experiencing problems with VCT, the district turned to nora® flooring for its ability to adapt to challenges presented by concrete surfaces. “We were having issues with cracks and moisture coming through, so we needed something that was able to span and move with the cracks, instead of cracking the tile like VCT would do,” says Andersen. “I stripped in some rubber and liked the way it was able to move with the slab,” he adds.
Selected due to good IAQ contribution, acoustics and stain resistance, noraplan environcare™ and noraplan® sentica were chosen to outfit school corridors, stairwells, common areas, classrooms and cafeterias. The addition of rubber flooring to the district has also positively impacted operations and maintenance, particularly in art and science classrooms where floors are most likely to experience marks and spills. “Long-term maintenance is certainly a high priority for us because of the cost to maintain buildings. Costs regularly go up, and we continue to fight with budget concerns that limit our ability to hire more staff. So, if we can specify low-maintenance products, it benefits us as far as the man-hours allotted to each school,” says Andersen.
School officials were pleased to learn that, of the most recent survey respondents, 97 percent graded the quality of the district’s buildings either an A or B. The use of rubber flooring for hard-surface areas supports the district’s mission to provide the best learning environment available.