CARRIE ANN COLVIN BOOHER (August 2001)
Design Standards for Elementary, Middle/Junior High, and High School Counseling
Facilities
(Under the Direction of C. KENNETH TANNER)
 
As public and legislative interest has increased in the areas of school safety and character education, much attention has focused on the role that professional counselors play in schools. The professional literature offers few descriptions of the design standards of facilities that elementary, middle/junior high, and high school counselors need in order to address barriers to academic, vocational, and personal achievement. This study sought to increase the knowledge base in the area of the facility needs of school counselors.
 
This study surveyed school counselors regarding their perceptions about actual and ideal counseling facilities. The School Counseling Facility Survey was developed from a review of the school counseling and facility literature. Alpha reliability coefficients for the sub-scales on the survey ranged from .8445 to .9555. Counselors responses were compared across the variables: age of the building, level of facility satisfaction, level of job satisfaction, academic level of the students served, and the type of community.

Cross tabulations and contingency coefficients examined significant relationships among the counselors' perceptions of their actual facilities. Of the significant relationships that were identified, most were found among the design items and the academic level of the students served.
A one-way analysis of variance procedure identified significant differences among the counselors' perceptions of their ideal counseling facilities. Significant differences were found among several of the design items and the academic level of the students served. Counselors' responses to open-ended questions suggested the addition of several intriguing design items regarding the location of the facility, access to technology, and permanence of the facility for counselor use.

Design standards included counselor-identified design items for counseling offices, reception areas, conference rooms, playrooms, career/college rooms, storage areas, and the location of the counseling facility. Architectural drawings, derived from the counselors' responses, were provided for elementary, middle/jr. high and high school counseling facilities.
It is recommended that architects, facility planners, and school boards utilize the design standards and architectural drawings to design more effective school counseling facilities. The ranking of the means of counselors' responses as illustrated in this study could be especially helpful when allocating limited resources for counseling facilities.

INDEX WORDS: School counselors, School counseling facilities, Design standards, Architectural designs, School learning environments


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