Educational specifications facilities planning standards


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February, 2008



PLUMBING 32 – 33
SUMMARY (Square Feet) 40

ES Gross Square Feet per Student

Elementary School – Acoustic Standard

National Best Practices Manual for Building High Performance Schools


This Elementary School Educational Specification is a guideline to be used in planning and designing new and remodeling and renovating existing elementary schools. This Educational Specification describes the facility requirements to accommodate the instructional program, activities and support facilities. This document is a tool that is used to communicate basic facility design requirements and guidelines to architects, school districts, school staff and the School Facilities Commission.

Educational Specifications are guidelines that are critical to the development of an overall plan as they are applied to each individual school. Site adaptation and specific program requirements for each school district may be needed for each project.
These Educational Specifications are intended to be a dynamic document that allows for amendment as required to accommodate educational program changes. They should be reviewed and updated periodically by the School Facilities Commission.
This Educational Specification is intended to be used as a supporting document to other documents issued by the School Facilities Commission. It is not intended to supersede any other School Facilities Commission documents.
The Square Feet Summary in each section of these educational specifications shall be adjusted to the size of the facility as indicated in the Appendix: ES Gross Square Feet per Student.


The administrative area provides space for personnel concerned with the day to day operation of the school.

A. Administration Spaces:

1. Principal

2. Secretary/Reception

3. Nurse/Toilet

4. Counselor

5. Conference

6. Workroom

7. Staff Lounge

8. Staff Toilet

9. Itinerant Office

10. Technology Support

11. Storage


Provide daylighting in all offices, work areas and lounge with a minimum of 20-30 fc of uniform daylighting throughout the spaces. Ceiling height in the Administration area shall be a minimum of 9’-4”. All areas shall be ADA compliant.

A. Administration Spaces:

1. Principal:

a. Provide general office space with guest seating for 4 people.

b. Provide a door into the general office.

c. Principal office shall be adjacent to the conference room.

d. The main school entrance should be visible from the principal’s office.

e. Provide a small locking closet or wardrobe unit.

2. Secretary/Reception:

a. This area shall have a waiting area that will comfortably hold _____ seated parents/adults and ______ students standing.

b. A receptionist/secretary handles contact with the public, faculty and students. Locate the area near or adjacent to the main building entrance. This area is a buffer between external and instructional functions. There is also a direct relationship to core instructional and non-instructional facilities, particularly those with after-hours community use.

c. Provide for 3 desk/computer workstations and 6 filing cabinets. The general office needs to be open and flexible for easy supervision by administrative and secretarial staff.

d. A front counter shall be provided. Provide good visibility to the nurse, principal’s office and outside to the entry/parking area. Visibility of the main lobby is necessary.

e. Attendance functions also take place in this area. An outside transaction window is recommended where students can wait in line from the corridor to use it.

f. The general office should also be near the administrative workroom. Wall space is required for the school fire/security alarm panel.

3. Nurse/Toilet:

a. This area is used to provide care for ill, injured, or upset children and contains storage of health supplies and records. Provide direct access from both the main office and the corridor. To provide supervision, secretaries in the main office must be able to easily view this area from the general office.

b. Provide desk space for a nurse’s aide and two beds with screening curtains on ceiling mounted tracks that can be pulled for visual separation.

c. Casework should consist of base and wall cabinets. One base cabinet shall be a 3-drawer unit. Provide a 23-inch deep x 18-inch wide x 84-inch high wardrobe cabinet. All cabinets and drawers may contain medical supplies and must be lockable. Provide a single bowl, hot and cold water sink in a base cabinet fitted with a flexible gooseneck fitting. Provide space for an under counter refrigerator.

d. An accessible toilet room with an out swinging door is required. Provide a hand held shower mounted 48-inches above the floor with a single lever faucet on the wall adjacent to the water closet. Provide a floor drain.

e. This room shall have water resistant floor materials and wall materials the entire height of the walls.

4. Counselor:

a. Provide general office space with guest seating for 4 people.

b. The office should be close to, but separate from, the main office.

5. Conference:

a. The conference room requires seating for 10 and should be located near the principal’s office. It may be removed from but close to the general office area.

b. Provide 6 feet of base cabinet with countertop.

6. Workroom:

a. The workroom shall be located adjacent to the general office area for convenience of the office staff.

b. Provide approximately 20 lineal feet of upper and lower cabinets for storage of supplies.

c. More than one door is desirable.

d. A copier, printers, a fax machine and other specialized equipment will be located in the room.

e. Provide a single bowl, hot and cold water sink.

f. Provide supplemental ventilation to dissipate equipment heat loads.

g. Provide a closet for administration staff and a lockable key cabinet.

h. Mailboxes for staff use only should be located adjacent to the workroom. Provide a pigeonhole mailbox with 48 slots 15-inches deep x 11-inches wide x 3-inches high. A tack surface for messages is required and may be located in the workroom.

7. Staff Lounge:

a. The lounge provides staff break, lunch and meeting space. The lounge should be accessible but not necessarily contiguous to other administration areas.

b. Exterior windows are preferred.

c. Provide two 4-foot x 4-foot tack boards, a single stainless steel kitchen sink with hot and cold water, a gooseneck faucet, a garbage disposal and 10 lineal feet of base and wall cabinets. One wall cabinet must be lockable. Provide space and utilities for a dishwasher, microwave and full size refrigerator.

8. Staff Toilet:

a. Provide two handicapped accessible toilet rooms.

9. Itinerant Office:

a. Provide one general office space with seating area for two guests.

10. Technology Support:

a. Provide one general office space with seating area for two guests.

11. Storage:

a. The storage room must be central to all administrative areas and be lockable and secure.

b. Provide approximately 15 Lineal feet of upper and lower cabinets for storage of supplies.

A. Administration Spaces:

1. Principal ______ sf

2. Secretary/Reception ______

3. Nurse/Toilet ______

4. Counselor ______

5. Conference ______

6. Workroom ______

7. Staff Lounge ______

8. Staff Toilet ______

9. Itinerant Office ______

10. Technology Support ______

11. Storage ______

Administration Spaces Total ______ SF

The classroom is the basic unit of the instructional program. It allows for development of teaching teams to utilize the instructional area to accommodate student’s needs and program functions.

All student learning activities except art, music and physical education occur within the academic areas. Kindergarten and Special Education are integrated into the ES program and take place within the academic areas.
A. Instructional Suite Spaces:

1. Classrooms

2. Multi-use Room

3. Girls and Boys Toilets

4. Staff Toilet

5. Custodial Closet


The site constraints and total number of classrooms needed are to be determined by the individual School District.

Classrooms surround or are adjacent to a support core containing a Multi-use Room and Toilets. The configuration should maximize interaction within and among teachers and students. A strong relationship is needed with the Media Center and other core instructional areas.
Provide daylighting in all academic rooms with a minimum of 20-30 fc of uniform daylighting throughout the spaces. Minimum ceiling heights shall be 10’-0”. All areas shall be ADA compliant.

A. Academic Area Spaces:

1. Classroom:

a. General classroom sizes are shown in the “Square Feet Summary at the end of this section. The classroom shape shall be appropriate to the educational delivery system of the individual school.

b. Every classroom should have at least one outside view window that has an operable section. Maximum sill height shall be age appropriate. View windows shall have blinds and screens.

c. Casework shall consist of 8 to 16 lineal feet of base and wall cabinets. Part of the casework should be a 23 inch deep x 12 inch wide x 84 inch high locking wardrobe unit for teacher coats and personal items.

d. Team teaching requires the ability to open the wall between classrooms. Movable partitions providing a minimum of 12 lineal feet of opening shall be provided between each pair of adjoining classrooms. The amount of movable partition beyond the minimum prescribed and whether more than two classrooms can open into each other shall be determined by the School District. Special onsideration should be given to control of sound transmission through the ceiling space above the movable partition.

e. Coat hooks with a contiguous shelf above shall be located in the classroom. Provide for 20 hooks at 2 hooks per foot staggered 6 inches per adjacent row. Lockers may be used in lieu of coat hooks.

f. A wet area may be needed by the instructional program. A single stainless steel sink shall be provided with a gooseneck faucet. The floor material shall be appropriate for the use of the wet area.

h. A minimum ceiling height shall be 9’-4” for ______ sf or less and 10’-0” for ______ sf or more.

2. Multi-use Room:

a. This space may be used for teacher planning area, storage, small group teaching area, Title 1, workspace for teachers, students, and aides.

b. Provide one room per each 6-classroom area.

c. Windows, with blinds, into the corridor are required. No doors to the exterior are permitted.

d. Provide open and closed storage for books and instructional materials. Provide 23 inch deep base cabinets with adjustable shelves that contain a total of 40 cubic feet of storage for each classroom served. Provide an area to contain 20 lineal feet of 12 inch deep x 72 inch high open shelving.

3. Girls and Boys Toilets:

a. ADA compliant children’s toilet with the size and number of fixtures depending upon the number of classrooms served.

4. Staff Toilet:

a. Provide a unisex single adult toilet in each academic area that is ADA compliant.

5. Custodial Closet:

a. The closet shall be used for academic area maintenance equipment, supplies and storage.


A. Academic Area Spaces (example is a 3 section K-5):

1. Kindergarten (incl. toilet) ______ sf x 3 ______ sf

2. First grade ______ sf x 3 ______

3. Second – Fifth grade ______ sf x 12 ______

4. Multi-use Room ______ sf x 3 ______

5. Girls and Boys Toilets (incl. in gross sf )

6. Staff Toilets (incl. in gross sf)

5. Custodial Closet (incl. in gross sf)

(3 section K-5) Spaces Total ______ SF


Space needs for exceptional children requiring special education may vary greatly depending on the conditions that pertain to each student and the particular requirements of the School District.

A. Special Education Spaces:

1. Self Contained Room

2. Resource Room

Provide daylighting in all areas with a minimum of 20-30 fc of uniform daylighting throughout the spaces. All areas shall be ADA compliant.

Wet area requirements are the same as for regular classrooms except certain programs may require an instructional area with water in both classrooms and resource rooms.

A. Special Education Spaces:

1. Self Contained Room:

a. Varies with the program and type of exceptional student.

b. Ceiling height should be a minimum of 10’-0”.

2. Resource Room / OTPT:

a. This space adds versatility to the program. Additional support spaces may be necessary depending upon the program.

b. Ceiling height should be a minimum of 10’-0”.

c. Support structure may be required for special ceiling hung apparatus.


1. Self Contained Room ______ sf

2. Resource Room / OTPT ______

Special Education Spaces Total ______ SF

The art education area is a combined studio, workroom, kiln/clay storage room and material storage room. The room is sometimes messy, dirty, and noisy and should be designed to fit the function. Art activities include drawing, painting, crafts, clay, sculpture, plaster, wood and paper construction, weaving, stitchery, art appreciation, art history and display.

Students engage in independent reading and research, particularly upon completion of studio activities, in the resource area.
A. Art Education Spaces:

1. Studio Area

2. Teacher Work/Planning Area

3. Resource Area

4. Kiln/Clay Storage

5. Material Storage


Provide daylighting in all areas, except storage rooms, with a minimum of 20-30 fc of uniform daylighting throughout the spaces. All areas shall be ADA compliant.

A. Art Education Spaces:

1. Studio:

a. The studio room shall be in a shape appropriate to the function with a minimum ceiling height of 10’-0”.

b. Exterior view window(s) shall have maximum sill heights of 32 inches. Preferable window orientation shall be north facing. A minimum of one operable sash should be provided. View widows shall have blinds and screens.

c. Walls shall be gypsum board with paint or vinyl wall covering for self-healing stapling and pinning.

d. Casework for studio area storage shall consist of:

1. Base cabinet of 20 lineal feet and 23 inches deep.

2. Shelving: 20 lineal feet of adjustable shelving 48 inches wide x 32 inches deep for still life, plaster and buckets. 25 lineal feet of adjustable shelving 32 inches wide x 28 inches deep x 72 inches high for student projects, shelving should be non-rusting, non-warping, and cleanable without sliding doors. About 40% of the shelving should be lockable.

3. Wardrobe Cabinet: Provide a 23 inch deep x 12 inch wide x 84 inch high lockable wardrobe cabinet for teacher personal items.

e. The studio shall have two 4 foot high x 6 foot long white boards with marker trays. A tack strip with map hooks.

f. Utilities:

1. Sinks: Provide one stainless steel unit with double sinks and integral drain boards at each end. The unit is 8 feet long x 24 inches deep with a 28 inch rim height and contains two 20 inch x 24 inch x 14 inch deep sinks with a 6 inch backsplash. Hot and cold single lever swing-type gooseneck faucet is required. Locate the sink away from the room entry. Pipe all sinks into an easily accessible plaster/clay trap. 2 inch drain lines are required. Provide one floor drain in front of the sinks.

2. Lighting: Provide a minimum level of 50 foot candles maintained and color correct general lighting. Provide a separately switched ceiling mounted “Unistrut” grid 20 feet x 15 feet in the room center mounted 6 inches below the ceiling for 3-D hanging displays and two 10 foot lengths of track lighting with 8 adjustable heads and color correct flood lamps. Locate the tracks to highlight student display walls.

3. Electrical Receptacles: Provide a minimum of 3 fourplex and 3 duplex receptacles with each fourplex on a dedicated 20 amp circuit. Locate data outlets close to the fourplex receptacles. Provide plug-mold over each base cabinet counter and removable safety netted drop-cords suspended from the ceiling over student work tables and pottery wheels.

2. Teacher Work/Planning Area:

a. Area (part of Studio) with space for teacher desk, large paper cutter, and mat cutter.

3. Resource Area:

a. Area (part of Studio) with space for flat files and quiet work area.

4. Kiln/Clay Storage:

a. Kiln area casework: 4-units, 23 inches deep x 36 inches wide x 84 inches high with adjustable, washable shelves for storage of green-ware, bisque-ware and glaze-ware.

b. Provide kiln and exhaust system.

c. Provide a 220V dedicated circuit for a kiln and an 110V circuit for the kiln exhaust.

d. Supplemental ventilation/exhaust is required.

5. Material Storage:

a. This shall be a lockable room for art materials and is accessible only from the art studio.

b. Provide built-in adjustable floor to ceiling shelving on all perimeter walls for paper sized 12” x 18”, 18” x 24”, 24” x 36” and 36” x 40”. Provide some vertical slotted poster board storage.


A. Art Education Spaces:

1. Studio ______ sf

2. Teacher Work/Planning Area ____ incl. in Studio

3. Resource Area ____ incl. in Studio

4. Kiln/Clay Storage _______

5. Material Storage _______

Art Education Spaces Total _______ SF



General music students engage in creative, high noise level activities in large and small groups. Music instruction and activities include moving to music in a creative manner and in formal folk dance. Students perform on percussion instruments, wind instruments, string instruments and piano. For assemblies, plays, presentations and other performances the general music room becomes the stage area by opening the operable wall and extending the curtains. The wall opens into the gym, which becomes the audience seating area.

Instrumental music activities involve students in groups of varying sizes performing on percussion, wind and string instruments. The instrumental music program is an occasional activity, usually occurring 8 to 16 hours per week. Office functions, meetings and instructional activities utilize the space at other times. Despite the multiple uses, the space should be designed primarily as a music space that will accommodate other uses.
Instrument storage is provided for security purposes and for the protection of instruments that, if damaged, are costly to repair or replace.
A. Music/Performance Spaces:

1. General Music/Performance Room

2. Instrumental Music/Office/Conference Room

3. Instrument Storage Room

4. Chair and Table Storage Room

All spaces shall be ADA compliant.

A. Music/Performance Spaces:

1. General Music/Performance Room:

a. Range of _____ to _____ students with occasional choral groups of up to ______. The preferred height is 12 to 14 feet.

b. No windows are preferred.

c. A door to the corridor and to the gym space is required

d. The performance opening to the gym should be on the short side of the gym in order to provide for the best audience sight lines.

e. Operable wall between Music Room (Performance Space) and Gym (Audience Seating): provide sound wall of a minimum 52 STC. Noise transfer from both the PE class and the Music class will result in both spaces becoming less than appropriate learning spaces. Provide stacking area for the operable wall.

f. Acoustical Treatments: Construction of the music room must provide a reverberation time of 1.5 – 2 seconds, which requires the use of lower absorption materials. The teacher must be able to hear the individual as well as the balance within the ensemble. Reflective parallel surfaces should be avoided. The ceiling treatment should alternate reflective and absorbent surfaces to allow the sound to blend and to keep the average levels below OSHA guidelines. Range of _______ to ______ sf of acoustically absorptive material should be incorporated into the room design. Design and construction should maximize the acoustical isolation of music activities from other activities in the building.

g. Casework shall consist of 8 to 12 lineal feet of base and wall cabinets. Part of the casework shall be a 23 inch deep x 12 inch wide x 84 inch high lockable wardrobe cabinet for teacher coats and personal items. Provide lockable storage facilities for musical instruments, books, records, tapes and other classroom instruments. Provide 35 to 40 lineal feet of 30 inch deep x 7 foot high adjustable shelving cabinets with doors and locks and 8 to 12 lineal feet of 24 inch deep x 7 foot high adjustable shelving cabinets with doors and locks.

h. The music room shall have one 4 foot high x 8 foot long white board with a marker tray and a tack strip with map hooks. Provide a pull down projection screen.

i. Curtain and Track: Provide counterweighted backdrop curtains positioned as close as possible to the proscenium opening to hide backstage activity and to define an approximately _______ sf performance area. Provide a curtain stacking area.

j. Utilities:

1. Sink: provide a general purpose stainless steel sink for cleaning instruments. Include a gooseneck single lever faucet with hot and cold water.

2. Lighting: Provide general lighting with 50 foot candles maintained. Important issues to consider: lack of uniformity in music manuscripts, inks, paper, music symbol sizes and printing methods add to reading difficulty without proper illumination. Students must have proper lighting to read rapidly and accurately, manipulate their bodies and music and follow the teacher’s motions. Irregular seating and standing arrangements cause students to face the teacher a various angles. When risers are used, students sitting or standing on the top levels have a different relationship with ceiling light sources than do students sitting or standing at floor level. Avoid lighting systems that produce a sixty-cycle hum.

3. Performance Lighting: Provide two separate clusters with six lights in each cluster. Lights should have removable gels so that lighting in easily changed and white light is available if needed. Position light clusters at audience (gymnasium) side of the performance platform within heavy-duty cages so that they may be left up at all times. Lighting should be capable of position adjustment that is 360-degrees horizontal and 180-degrees vertical. Switching should occur from the stage side so lighting can be operated during a performance.

4. Emergency Lighting: Provide an override switch to permit stage blackout.

5. Electrical Receptacles: Provide a minimum of three fourplex receptacles, each on its own 20 amp circuit, and three general duplex receptacles. Provide one duplex receptacle inside a 30 inch deep storage cabinet for the sound system. Provide five data receptacles close to the fourplex receptacles.

6. Sound System: Provide stereo speakers with jacks for connection to portable components located in lockable casework.

7. Public Address: The system is separate from the gymnasium system and music room sound system. Provide input jacks at the stage front and ceiling for a microphone and audio/visual amplifier to be housed in the sound system cabinet.

8. HVAC and Controls: Ventilation should be proportional to high levels of physical exertion involved with proposed activities. Independent control is preferred. The ambient sound of the HVAC system should not exceed a preferred room noise criteria of 25.

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