For more than a decade, the National Institute of Building Sciences has managed the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities (NCEF) for the U.S. Department of Education. Despite this long-term relationship with the Department, and the respect and recognition both the Institute and the Clearinghouse maintain within the building and education communities, the Department of Education recently awarded its federal fiscal year 2011-2014 grant monies for maintaining the Clearinghouse to another entity.
“The National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities has received considerable accolades and is widely referenced within the educational facilities community,” said NCEF Director Judy Marks, Hon. AIA. “Architects, engineers, facility managers, school administrators, teachers and other faculty members, students, school planning committees, community groups and the media all rely on the resources NCEF compiles on its website and the expertise of its staff.”
Only last month during the Sustainability Education Summit, Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan praised the work of the Clearinghouse. In his keynote address to the 300 attendees, he said, “We fund the National Clearinghouse…which is a national leader in helping K-12 leaders make school facilities green and sustainable.”
The NCEF website is the largest source of school facilities information in the world. With over 21,000 resources, the site gets more than 1.4 million visitors a year. NCEF provides information on planning, designing, funding, building, improving, and maintaining safe, healthy, high-performing pre-kindergarten through higher education facilities. It also references a number of Institute resources such as the Whole Building Design Guide, Building Seismic Safety Council, Multihazard Mitigation Council and buildingSMART alliance, as well as other Institute programs that explore facility security, operation and maintenance.
“The U.S. Congress established the National Institute of Building Sciences to provide technical assistance to federal agencies and, for the past 12 years, we have been honored to partner with the Department of Education in facilitating the design, construction and operation of safe and sustainable schools,” said Jim. W. Sealy, FAIA, NCARB, HFES, Hon. ICC, Chairman of the Institute’s Board of Directors. “We are saddened to learn that the Department has selected another organization to establish a new clearinghouse and will no longer be supporting our National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities.”
Because of the Clearinghouse’s wealth of knowledge, the vast array of resources it gathers in furtherance of safe and sustainable schools, and the value it provides to the building and education communities, the Institute is looking for ways to continue support of this important program.
“The National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities will continue to distinguish itself from other sources by maintaining the largest collection of data and information available on educational facilities in the world,” said Institute President Henry L. Green, Hon. AIA. “However, to do so, we need industry support. The Institute is pursuing funding opportunities to assist us in assuring that the NCEF website and its resources remain available to the building and education communities.”