Tough Jobs in Education Tough Jobs in Healthcare Tough Jobs in Industrial Tough Jobs in Commercial Tough Jobs in Community

Preparing Education Facilities
for Re-Opening

Posted By Gary Albrecht On July 6, 2020

As a parent, former educator, and District Administrator, I understand the challenges each of you face. Whether you are a parent, student or district leader, I realize that this year is particularly unique given the re-opening of school during COVID-19.

It is hard to imagine it is already July. As a typical year would have it, the back to school aisles are in full swing, so I know school is just around the corner. But this is far from a typical year. Although many of us have started returning business to a new normal and have begun talking about sending kids back to school, we are still faced with many uncertainties as the pandemic seems to be quickly evolving.

At JP Cullen, safety is always our #1 priority, not only for our employees, but for our clients and community. Our safety philosophy has only intensified with COVID-19, and that extends to you, your students, and your staff. We are here to offer guidance and leadership through these challenging times. We are continually researching, innovating, and coming up with ideas on how we can deliver creative solutions to your ever-changing unique needs. As CDC, state and local public health guidance updates become available we incorporate them – safety always being the very most important aspect.

We understand each district has a unique set of needs and financial resources, there is no “one-size-fits-all”. As your trusted construction partner, we can take those needs, mix them with our already developed strategies and come up with a solution that ensures your district leverages each resource tactically to addresses the short and long term effects of the pandemic.

Some things to consider:

  • Repurpose underutilized spaces.
  • Flexible, dual purpose, and easy to move furniture.
  • Sectioning off large rooms into smaller learning areas or vice versa combining adjacent classrooms into one large space.
  • Construct temporary classrooms on underutilized athletic fields or green space.
  • Fresh air accessibility such as opening windows and windows and outdoor learning spaces.
  • Reduced travel throughout the building. For instance, holding lunch within the classroom, allowing for lunchrooms to be repurposed into learning spaces.
  • Elimination or relocation of student storage (lockers, cubbies) for wider hallways for one-way traffic flow.
  • Capacity limits per space.
  • Designated entrance and exits for one-way traffic flow.
  • Extra site security at exterior doors and main entrances.
  • Sneeze guards or plexiglass barriers.
  • Reduced seating capacity in common areas.
  • Social distancing guidelines on the floor so students and staff know where to stand/sit.
  • Separate health rooms.
  • Isolation area for ill students that is directly accessible to an exterior door.
  • Semi-permanent to permanent barriers for separation between paths of travel.
  • Install no-touch faucet and toilet fixtures.
  • Install automatic door operators for hands-free entry.
  • Increase the number of restrooms throughout the building for less travel.
  • Holding a sanitation area for deliveries.
  • Upgrade technology (cameras, speakers, microphones) for visual learning opportunities.
  • Upgrade ventilation system.
  • Remove water fountains.
  • Reduce amount of materials students need to carry (provide online resources over physical textbooks and paper) to lessen the transition of COVID-19.


Our internal experts are here to investigate and solve your challenges in the most cost effective, least invasive way possible to create high-performing building solutions. We stand ready to support you and your district, as a trusted construction partner on whatever the future might hold for your facility and needs. We look forward to discussing ideas with you!


About the Author

My name is Gary Albrecht. I have worked with JP Cullen for the past four years. I am an Internal Communications Facilitator and K-12 Strategist, specifically as a sounding board for administration teams throughout the entire referendum process – start to finish. 

My years of experience as a school and CESA Administrator has afforded me an opportunity to work with school staff, administration, boards, and community members in various capacities. During my time as an Administrator, I was fortunate to experience two successful JP Cullen building projects that were completed on time, within budget, and of extremely high quality. I have been on all sides and offer my expert advice. 


Filed Under Education