School Siting Workshops

Are you familiar with EPA’s School Siting Guidelines? Do you want to know how to train decision-makers on how to use the School Siting Guidelines?

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As a part of our continuing outreach and educational efforts around school siting, the Georgia Conservancy is offering our train the trainer materials, webinars and workshops to better educate decision makers on the importance of that school siting decisions have our communities.

The construction of new schools, as well as decisions regarding the closing of existing schools, influences the health, economic well-being, and the quality of life for the entire community.  By taking into account the special vulnerabilities of children and their health, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), working with a team of experts, released in October 2011 the School Siting GuidelinesThe School Siting Guidelines are an educational tool to assist local school districts and community members in evaluating health and environmental factors to make the best possible school siting decisions.

School Siting Guidelines are based upon four principles: safe and healthy school environments are integral components of the education process; the environmental review process should be rigorous, thorough and well documented, and include substantive and ongoing public involvement; schools should be located in environments that contribute to the livability, sustainability and public health of neighborhoods and communities; and the school siting process should consider the environmental health and safety of the entire community, including disadvantaged and underserved populations.

After the School Siting Guidelines were released, three Georgia non-profit organizations –The Georgia Conservancy, U.S. Green Building Council, Georgia Chapter, and Mothers & Others for Clean Air – recognized that school siting decision-makers may need training on the guidelines and a hands-on way of applying the principles of the guidelines to real-world situations.  In 2012, the team developed a training program based on the School Siting Guidelines called, Old School, New School, This Place, That Place to guide school board members, administrators and personnel, planners, and other decision-makers through the children’s health and environmental impacts that should be considered when making difficult decisions regarding school siting, school closure, or school renovations.  The training was developed using funds from EPA’s Pollution Prevention program in Regions 1, 4, and 7; the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Georgia, Inc.

Old School, New School, This Place, That Place: An Introduction to Utilizing the EPA School Siting Guidelines

Old School, New School, This Place, That Place:  An Introduction to Utilizing the EPA School Siting Guidelines uses a presentation, case studies, and exercises to encourage dialog and discussion about the complex issues surrounding school siting decisions.  The program can be used by any state or locality—all you need to do is edit the information in certain portions of the program to reflect your communities’ requirements and regulations.

User’s Guide .pdf download

This Guide provides speaker notes for both the Full Workshop and One-Hour Modules.  References are also provided.

Full Workshop (3-hour) PowerPoint download

The main component of the training is an interactive workshop with case studies and exercises.  A minimum of three (3) hours is recommended for the full workshop.  We recommend that the participants represent a variety of stakeholders including: school board members, facilities managers, planners, etc.

Four case studies are included to engage workshop participants and generate discussion.  The graphics for each case study are based on real-world examples, but are made into generic graphics to focus attention on the school campus and surrounding areas as well as to make the examples applicable to many different real-world situations.

The Full Workshop includes two interactive exercises based on a hypothetical school siting situation.  Detailed instructions for the exercises are found following the speaker notes.

One-Hour Module PowerPoint download

This abbreviated presentation is recommended for elected officials or for use in formats where time constraints limit use of the Full Workshop.  The One-Hour Module does not include interactive exercises and provides much less opportunity for group discussion.

45-Minute Module PowerPoint download

This abbreviated presentation is recommended for parents, PTA groups, and concerned community-members. It is intended to share information about school siting, how to be involved, and build local champions/advocates.  

Learn more about the Georgia Conservancy's School Siting work, which includes two Blueprints for Successful Communities studios with Georgia Tech and a comprehensive White Paper advocating for sustainable school siting practices.


For more information on School Siting Workshops, please contact Georgia Conservancy Sustainable Growth Program Manager Katherine Moore at or Georgia Conservancy Urban Design Lead Johanna McCrehan at