Special to The Dallas Examiner
To commemorate its 30th anniversary, Building Solutions has committed to a year-long campaign to bring awareness to the inequities in school facilities and champion successful learning environments for K-12 students in Dallas/Fort Worth.
Building Solutions, a national real estate advisor for facility assessments and capital projects, made the announcement in an effort to foster improvements to schools in underserved communities and help achieve better outcomes for all students in the Dallas-Fort Worth region. The social equity campaign was designed to raise awareness of inequities in school facilities and provide solutions for creating fair learning environments for all Dallas-Fort Worth scholars. For 30 years, the company has worked closely with private, charter, and public K-12 schools in North Texas and across the U.S. on more than 1,150 school projects.
The “Building Solutions for Brighter Futures” campaign will include the company’s initial commitment of donating 3,000 hours to 30 different schools in the North Texas area. To kick-off the campaign, an allocation of that time will be used for facility assessments of public, charter and private schools to identify critical deficiencies in facilities and operating practices that impact health and learning. In addition, Building Solutions will work to create an advocacy committee with fundraising and policy goals to help Dallas-Fort Worth schools make the necessary improvements identified by the assessments, long after the campaign ends.
“This year, the coronavirus pandemic and the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, among too many others, have highlighted the growing inequities for racial and ethnic communities across the country, underscoring the need for corporate citizens to step up and speak up. We want to do more than talk,” said Bill Keslar, CEO of Building Solutions. “Our company’s core values are rooted in helping others be the best they can be, and we are disheartened by the disparities among our schools, particularly as they are a key indicator of underlying injustices in our society. We hope that our commitment and actions will lead to greater lasting change than that of the past 50 years.”
As part of the campaign, Building Solution will also initiate a mentorship program for education facility leaders and staff to share expertise and tools to help maintain and create equitable school campuses, along with hosting a series of conversations with education and business leaders to discuss topics related to educational equity. Additional components of the campaign will be announced in the coming months.
“Our hope is to bring awareness to the significant importance of a just and fair learning environment and the profound impact it has on a student’s success,” said Dennis Palmer, senior vice president and chief operating officer. “The COVID-19 pandemic is greatly affecting our most vulnerable students and through our 30th anniversary social justice campaign, our goal is to close the growing gap in academic achievement for underserved students in North Texas and model how such a focus can be applied elsewhere.”
Research has shown that the conditions and qualities of a school facility can positively or negatively affect not only a student’s well being but also their overall academic achievement. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted unhealthy school buildings for underserved students, only widening the achievement gap for these students. With the school shutdowns due to the pandemic, students will experience learning loss, likely the greatest among low-income, Black and Hispanic students, along with higher dropout rates. And when things return to normal, these effects might cause long-term harm to vulnerable students.
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