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The Effects of High School Design on Student Success

Year: 2023

Presenter Name: Charity Wardle

The central purpose of this research was to explore the effects that high school design had on student success. Society is starting to value mental health just as much as physical health, especially in our younger generations. It is important to consider the physical aspects of school design, but it just might be even more beneficial to focus on the impact of design on the mental health of students. Every student should feel valued by society, but instead many students are being stigmatized by the physical state of their high school and community. The goals of this research are to help define student success, recognize the impact that thoughtful interior architecture and design can have on those occupying a space, gain perspective from high school administration and faculty, and bring awareness to the public about the importance of investing time and money into high school design. This research focuses primarily on three high schools in Utah from varying districts that have either a remodel or renovation in the past five to fifteen years. The literature review for this project played a large part in proving the significance and need for this kind of research dealing with educational design. The methodology for the research is categorized into two parts, online data, and physical data. The online data consisted of researching the statistics of each school before and after the remodel or renovation. The statistics dealt with quantitative data such as enrollment and graduation rates, test scores, and overall school ranking in the state. The online data also provided images of schools both before and after the remodel/renovations to give a visual that otherwise would be difficult to describe in words alone. The physical data consisted of interviews with administration members from each school. The interviews and images of the schools provide qualitative data, which in the field of interior architecture and design can arguably have more importance than quantitative data alone. Their interviews gave important insight into how the interior design and architecture of a building affect students as a whole. The outcomes of this research project yielded the following; the definition of student success is shifting from solely academics to a goal of helping students feel prepared for real-life challenges. There was little to no difference in the statistics from each school before and after the remodel/renovation. There is always room for improvement in school design. There is little to no collaboration between faculty and administration during the design process involving schools. The new designs don't affect faculty motivation to come to school, as their motivation comes from helping students. Students take more pride in their schools when they are beautiful, unique, and innovative. Well-designed high schools provide greater opportunities for flexibility, collaboration, and socialization.
University / Institution: Utah State University
Type: Oral
Format: In Person
SESSION B (10:45AM-12:15PM)
Area of Research: Arts
Faculty Mentor: Holly Murdock
Location: Alumni House, BOYER ROOM (11:05am)