Adaptive Reuse of Rural Schools & the Effects on Community & Quality of Life

Hillary L’Ecuyer, Kansas State University

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Abstract: Access to community amenities is often restricted for rural Americans (Beale & Johnson, 1998; Lapping, 2007). This condition is worsened when rural schools are shut down, causing a detriment to the community’s quality of life through the loss of social activities, an economic base, health programs, and an educational center (Diamond, 2013; Richardson, 2000; Lyson, 2002). With rural schools offering a variety of sizes of interior space, there is an opportunity to adapt these spaces for the specific needs of the community (Perkins & Bordwell, 2010; Lachky, 2010). A proposed strategy for planning and design options for school reuse is demonstrated to address the established rural issues and contribute to the quality of life for residents. Ideally, these strategies will conserve our planet’s limited building resources, and be a model for revitalized rural community development efforts across the nation.

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