Back in the 1970s, when architect Michael Hall first began designing schools, the procedure was simple.

“The way it worked was that a superintendent would give you a call and say, ‘I need a building with 20 classrooms, a gym and a library. Call me when you have a design,’” says Hall, an architect and chief marketing officer with Fanning/Howey Associates, Celina, Ohio.

Today, the path to creating a school facility involves a lot more steps and a lot more people. Although the process has become significantly more complicated, most educators and architects would agree that it results in school buildings that are more attuned to the desires of students, teachers and the overall community.

To make sure schools and universities build facilities that mesh with the needs and wants of those who will use them, school officials and architects must take into account many elements that can make a building more conducive to learning and more connected to the community.

Talk to architects and you'll come up with dozens of concerns that their designs must address. Here are 10 issues that architects have identified as being among the key points on which they focus as they try to provide schools and universities with buildings that do more than just house students for a few hours each day.

“A well-designed, quality school can contribute to the success of students,” says Steven Turckes, principal-in-charge for educational facilities in the Chicago office of Perkins & Will.