Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


School of Education


Higher Education Administration EdD

First Advisor

Edward A. Streeter

Second Advisor

William W. Davidson

Third Advisor

Wilfred W. Liske


Problem. The process of carefully planning school facilities to accomodate and support a particular educational program is but a recent addition to educational theory and practice. In fact, the use of educational specifications, in which educators describe how a school will operate, and thus guide the architects in their process of design, has developed within the same general period of time during which schools have grown in size and complexity (Callahan, 1962; Roaden, 1963). As a result, the process of planning has largely been related to big schools, and the distinctive needs of small schools have been neglected. The purpose of this study was to prepare a planning model which could be followed as a guide by a community preparing educational specifications for a small school in Michigan.

Method. The study utilized the descriptive and developmental methods. Literature was reviewed to gather concepts related to educational specifications that could apply to the planning of small schools, and to the programs and facilities of small schools. A survey was made of small schools in Michigan, and principals of small schools were asked to evaluate various features of the facilities available to small schools. Ideas were gathered from personal contact with educators particularly concerned with facility planning, and/or small schools. On the basis of the ideas and information gathered, a planning model was developed, setting out in sequential steps the process by which a community could develop educational specifications for a small school. The model was sent to a jury for validation.

Conclusions. Major conclusions drawn as a result of information and experience gained during the course of the study were that:

1. Small schools are being designed and built, and there is reason to believe they will continue to provide a needed service in the future.

2. The planning process for a small school is similar to, yet distinct from the planning of larger schools in that particular problems must be met, and distinctive answers sought for them.

3. Restricted funds for the planning process, and the limited availability of professional help are two problems a community planning a small school will possibly face.

4. Small schools have a particular potential for individualized and small group activities. To realize that potential, suitable facilities must be provided.

5. Much of the furniture and equipment provided for a small school should be mobile, so that the flexibility needed in a small school can be achieved.

6. The provision of semi-specialized centers in a small school can largely obviate the disadvantage small schools have in not being able to provide the specialized instruction areas found in larger schools.

7. Small schools have the potential to benefit from research and technology related to home construction, particularly in regard to energy conservation and supplementary sources of energy.

8. Small schools are likely to meet increased needs in the future, requiring extensions to the initial building. It is particularly important, then, that the initial building be adaptable.

9. Schools with more than three full-time teachers are likely to add more specialized areas, such as an instructional media center, for shared use. In this way the function of some of the centers found in smaller schools is centralized.

10. It is possible to outline a sequence of steps which a community can follow in preparing educational specifications for a small school.

Recommendations. Based upon the findings of this study, the following recommendations are presented for consideration:

1. Similar surveys of small schools should be made in areas other than Michigan, so that regional differences and needs can be analyzed and better understood.

2. The model developed in this study should be field tested by communities planning small schools, and revised in the light of experience.

3. Short training courses should be provided to prepare educators to serve as project administrators in the developing of educational specifications for small schools.

4. Particular pre-service and inservice programs should be prepared to help teachers of small schools learn how to care for, and use, the facilities available to them in a small school setting.

Subject Area

School facilities--Planning, Educational planning.

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