Best Practices in Educational Facilities Investments

Bethel Secondary School, Province , Burkina Faso

Exemplary design categories: comfort, community use and involvement, cost efficiency, energy efficiency, outdoor spaces, safety, school/community regeneration, sporting facilities, vocational facilities

How the facility meets the needs of education and communities:
Before the new school buildings were constructed, overcrowded classrooms and extreme temperatures (around 40°C) made learning conditions extremely poor, and every year 100 children were excluded from education due to an insufficient number of classrooms. Very poor sanitation facilities deterred girls from going to school, which meant that they suffered disproportionately.

The environmental design strategy combines high thermal mass construction, using locally available laterite stone from nearby quarries, with locally-manufactured adjustable and fully openable louvered shutters enabling ventilation and daylight to be controlled to suit the environmental conditions. An over sailing ‘fly roof’ maintains shade on the external surfaces of the classrooms and adjoining circulation routes, thereby limiting solar gain during peak hours of the day. The buildings are orientated to benefit from the cooling effect of airflow passing through an adjacent avenue of mature evergreen trees to the east side and a recently established tree plantation to the West.

The new facilities give students the opportunity to engage with formal classroom learning as well as vocational skills training, equipping individuals not only with academic qualifications but also with practical ‘skills for life’. Blackboards on the gables enable outside learning in the shade, and spaces have been dedicated for hands-on practical learning, and training in metalwork, carpentry, agriculture, tailoring, hairdressing and other local trades facilitates vital income-generating opportunities for the students.

The improved facilities have increased the number of students from 646 in 2010 to more than 1 100 in 2013.



Involvement of users and the local community in the planning and design process:
The local community in Gourcy was involved from the early stages of the project. The architects used community engagement and participatory planning exercises to develop a design plan of work that best suited the current and long term needs of the school. Using locally sourced building materials, incorporating traditional building methods and engaging local builders in the construction work contributed to making the project sustainable and cost efficient, whilst improving local capacity.

Activity Areas: 5 new classrooms, 3 vocational classrooms, library, female and male changing rooms, football pitch, running track, latrine block with hand washing and drinking water point, multi-use hard surface, covered bicycle parking, shaded outdoor self study area, seminar room.

Project costs: GBP 170,000.00

Source: Submitted October 2014

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User perspectives (2)

“The new classrooms are not hot inside. The new design gives us shade, and we are very comfortable. The classrooms are not as crowded as before, and I really feel that my results are improving.”
Azeta, Student
“The new classrooms are very comfortable. The windows allow air into the room, and the temperature inside is much cooler. I really enjoy teaching in the new classrooms.”
Nana, French teacher

Images (4)

Drawings (3)

Classroom (Registration required)
application/pdf
Credit: Article 25
Site plan (Registration required)
application/pdf
Credit: Article 25
Seminar block (Registration required)
application/pdf
Credit: Article 25