In 2013, Beaverton School District (BSD) embarked on a process of development of new Educational Specifications (Ed Specs) for the planning and design of future school projects. An Educational Specification is a document facility planners, architects and engineers use to develop, plan and design new schools or modernize existing ones. Ed Specs describe the facility vision, spaces, relationships between spaces and specific physical characteristics of each space in a new or modernized school.
The basis of the Ed Spec is the educational program. Educational programs require space which needs to be configured with certain physical attributes and characteristics. In essence, the shape and nature of place supports the educational programs. Without a place to teach and careful consideration of a school's educational needs, learning is impacted.
Effective school facility planning is characterized by extensive input, research-based analysis of educational trends and conditions, and documentation of building user needs. The development of Beaverton School District's Educational Specifications required a multi-faceted 13-month process involving nearly 150 representatives from a wide variety of district programs and schools. A three-step methodology was utilized to assess BSD's current and future educational programs, develop planning and design characteristics for District schools, and translate building user needs into specific space requirements.