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Promote 21st Century Schools

The Gray Middle School in Tacoma, Washington, a 2010 AIA Committee on Architecture for Education (CAE) Educational Facility Design Award winner, features sustainable design strategies that encourage students and staff to become knowledgeable stewards of the environment. Architects: Mahlum Architects.



AIA Position

The AIA urges Congress to pass legislation that would provide funding to state and local school districts for the modernization and renovation of K-12 public schools. Specifically, the AIA calls on Congress to pass the 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act (H.R. 3490 in the last Congress).


Too many of America’s children go to school in overcrowded buildings with leaky roofs, faulty electrical systems, and outdated technology, all of which compromises their ability to achieve, succeed, and build the educational foundations necessary for the workforce of the 21st century. Studies have shown that high-performing, energy efficient schools improve the learning environment for students, enhance the workplace for teachers and school administrators, and – most importantly – create jobs in the design and construction sectors.

The 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act (H.R. 3490) will assist states and local communities in meeting these staggering needs through federal grants to local school districts for energy efficient school modernization projects. This legislation would provide at least $6.4 billion in grants to states and local school districts at a time when significant fiscal relief for local school districts is needed. The bill would not allow the federal government to dictate how communities modernize their school buildings, but would provide a necessary investment to help communities achieve their school modernization plans at a time when budget shortfalls have placed these plans on hold.

H.R. 3490 will assist states in meeting the school facility needs of local communities by providing resources to repair, renovate, and modernize America’s schools. It will stimulate the creation of thousands of jobs in the construction industry among suppliers, ranging from architects and engineers to roofing contractors and other construction workers who modernize, renovate, and repair schools.

Useful Links

AIA Committee on Architecture for Education

The Benefits of Green Schools: A Triple Bottom Line Approach

U.S. Department of Education

National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities


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