"We can't afford to guess on the premises issue"

Many municipalities have used the Strategic Premises Planning method, especially for planning educational premises. So what does the customer think? The question goes to Stefan Norrestam, Director of Education in Lund Municipality.

- I have used Strategic Local Planning both in Helsingborg and most recently in Lund. I would say that the method is a prerequisite for being able to plan at all. We get a good, common overall picture of what our use of premises looks like. This then forms the basis for concrete decisions on new establishments, renovations and relocations.

In Lund, FOJAB arkitekter has helped to investigate all upper secondary schools, the Culture School and Komvux. Stefan Norrestam says that Lund has a very high occupancy rate.

- We cannot afford to guess on the issue of premises. In the past, it has been dealt with locally, even at the scheduling level. But it is difficult for the scheduler to see the big picture, and this can lead to the use of less suitable premises just to accommodate daily activities. The search for new teacher workspaces can mean taking up classrooms or tolling common areas until it is no longer possible. With this method, we look at the bigger picture and get an overall view of the actual needs. We see the potential for connection and co-use. This is very valuable and saves time and money.

Stefan Norrestam explains that the different school units are like communicating vessels because they have similar programs in different places. It is therefore important that both politicians and managers get a common overall picture. Only then can you proceed with a local program, but you should not start there.

- It is not just a school. It is a workplace for perhaps 1200 people. And the issue of space use is not just a school management issue. The buildings are a tool to turn goals and visions into reality.

The new curriculum for upper secondary school, GY11, which came into force in the 2011/12 academic year, reforms the school with new requirements and objectives, says Stefan Norrestam. Strategic Local Planning will be a means to meet that mission.

- The method drives the question of how we want to work, for example with core subjects and character subjects together. Today, we mainly have separate premises for math and construction. Now we are planning for these subjects in the same spaces and have the overview that makes this possible. An important prerequisite is that the analysis is developed in collaboration with the business. This shifts the focus from finding rooms to be in to looking at how we would like to work, now and in the future. It is not just about premises but about operations and development - about how we can fulfill our mission.