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Education Laws and Regulations

603 CMR 38.00:
School Construction

Section:
38.02:
38.03:
38.04:
38.05:
38.06:
38.07:
38.08:
38.09:
38.10:
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38.12:
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38.05: Program Standards: Capital Construction

In order to maximize the cost effective production of efficient, programmatically sound school projects, every capital construction project shall conform to the following program standards.

(1) Program Design A school project shall be designed based upon an approved program for a specified number of students for a typical academic week. The program model shall be approved by the district school committee, and shall comply with requirements of law and Board regulations relative to curriculum, program, student learning time and length of school year. In addition the project design may contain provision for community programs approvedby the district school committee or other local agency or office having lawful control of community programs. Community school spaces shall be included within the gross square footage established in 603 CMR 38.00 unless the Commissioner specifically approves additional space based on a demonstrable community need that cannot be accommodated within those limitations. Swimming pools and skating rinks shall not be eligible for reimbursement. Field houses shall only be eligible for reimbursement to the same extent as gymnasiums.

(2) Planned Enrollment The Department and the applicant shall agree on a planned enrollment for the school project. The applicant shall provide adequate supporting documentation as requested by the Department. The planned enrollment shall be consistent with demonstrable need, and shall not include incoming school choice students.

(3) Per Pupil Space Allowance The Commonwealth shall share in construction of school facilities within the following limitations in gross square footage, determined according to the method of computation contained in 603 CMR 38.05(6):

(a) Elementary Schools - not more than 115 gross square feet per pupil in planned enrollment.
(b) Middle Schools/Junior High Schools - not more than 135 gross square feet per pupil in planned enrollment.
(c) Academic High Schools - not more than 155 gross square feet per pupil in planned enrollment.
(d) Vocational Technical Schools - not more than 225 gross square feet per pupil in planned enrollment.
(e) Comprehensive High Schools - not more than 225 gross square feet per planned vocational technical student enrollment plus not more than 155 gross square feet per planned academic pupil enrollment.

(4) Space Allowance by Program Activity The standards set forth in Tables 1 through 3 shall be followed in planning school construction and expansion for elementary, junior high/middle, and secondary schools for which State school building assistance funds are sought.

Table 1- Elementary School Program Standards

Program spaces for an elementary school shall be shared in by the Commonwealth if they fall within these ranges. A variation of 5% is permitted.

All spaces exclusive of storageMinimum - Maximum (net area)
Classrooms (Grades 1-8) 900 - 1000 square feet
Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten
(with self-contained lavatory)
1200 - 1300 square feet
Special Education and Collaboratives as needed
Art 1000 - 1200 square feet
Music1000 - 1200 square feet
1. Practice Rooms75 -130 square feet
2. Ensemble Rooms up to 300 square feet
Media Center/Library Reading Room 1800-3000 square feet
Cafeteria 15 square feet per pupil computed to accommodate not more than ½ nor less than 1/3 the planned enrollment.
Kitchen 1300 square feet for the first 300 students; one square foot per each additional student.
Gymnasium
1. 12+ classroom school/separate gymnasium, first 2 teaching stationsGymnasium3000 square feet per station minimum
2. Smaller school, all purpose room or third teaching station and subsequent teaching stationsGymnasium2000 - 3000 square feet each station
Administration up to 800 square feet
Health Area 300 - 750 square feet
Guidance Area as needed
Small Group and Seminar up to 500 square feet each
Computer Labs/Work Stations 30 square feet per work station

Table 2 - Junior High and Middle School Program Standards

Program spaces for junior high and middle schools shall be shared in by the Commonwealth if they fall within these ranges. A variation of 5% is permitted.

Classrooms
1. Small Group Seminar300 - 500 square feet
2. Regular Interchangeable (20-30 pupils) 750 - 850 square feet
3. Large Group (80-125 pupils) 1500 - 2000 square feet
4. Storage as needed
Computer Labs/Work Stations30 square feet per work station
Art
1. General Area (storage not incl.)1200 - 1400 square feet
2. Specialized Areas (storage not incl.)600 - 1200 square feet
3. Storage min. 100 -200 square feet/art room
Music
1. Rehearsal (band, chorus, etc.)1400 - 1600 square feet
2. Theory & Choral900 - 1200 square feet
3. Practice Rooms75 -130 square feet
4. Ensemble Roomsup to 200 square feet each
5. Storage as needed
Office Technology1200 -1400 square feet
Family & Consumer Science 1400 -2400 square feet
Life Management Skills
(includes computer & demonstration space)
2400 -2600 square feet
Technology/Engineering
1. Fabrication AreaUp to 100 square feet/pupil each laboratory. Minimum 2000 square feet
2. Engineering Design Area 1200 -1400 square feet
Science 1000 - 1200 square feet
Physical Education (2 stations)6000 - 7500 square feet
Additional teaching stationsup to 3000 square feet each

Table 3 -Secondary School Program Standards

Program spaces for a secondary school shall be shared in by the Commonwealth if they fall within these ranges. A variation of 5% is permitted.

Classrooms
1. Small Group Seminar300 - 500 square feet
2. Regular Interchangeable (20-30 pupils)750 - 850 square feet
3. Large Group (80-125 pupils)1500 - 2000 square feet
Computer Labs/Work Stations 30 square feet per work station
Art
1. General Area (storage not included)1200 - 1400 square feet
2. Specialized Areas (storage not included)600 - 1200 square feet
3. Storage 100 -200 sq. ft./art room
Music
1. Rehearsal (band, chorus, etc.)1400 - 1600 square feet
2. Theory & Choral900 - 1200 square feet
3. Practice Rooms75 -130 square feet
4. Ensemble Roomsup to 200 square feet each
Office Technology 1200 -1400 square feet
Family & Consumer Science 1200 -1400 square feet
Technology/Engineering
1. Fabrication AreaUp to 100 sq.ft./pupil each lab. Minimum 2000 square feet.
2. Engineering Design Area 1200 -1400 square feet
Science
1. Lecture-Laboratory1000 - 1200 square feet
2. Demonstration/General Science 900 - 1000 square feet
Cafeteria 15 square feet per pupil computed to accommodate not more than ½ nor less than 1/3 the planned enrollment
Physical Education
1. Gymnasium (2 stations)6200 - 7500 square feet
2. Additional Teaching Stations 1200 - 3500 square feet
Library
( Instructional Materials Center)
Reading room - up to 15% of enrollment x 40 square feet - maximum. (Other areas may be added, if planned, i.e., office, conference, etc.)
AuditoriumSeating for not more than the planned enrollment nor more than 1000 persons. If the planned enrollment exceeds 1000, allow 7 square feet per person maximum.
Administration up to 1500 square feet
Guidance 800 to 1000 square feet
Health 500 - 1000 square feet

(5) Space Allowance Exceptions:

(a) The Commissioner may approve reasonable departures from the gross square footage requirements to accommodate proposed additions to existing school buildings when such departures will be consistent with the intent of 603 CMR 38.00 to provide adequate, safe, cost effective and programmatically sound school projects.

(b) The applicant shall provide assurance that the capital construction project provides adequate and appropriate space to accommodate early childhood and educational collaborative programs and programs to serve students with special needs or linguistic minority students who are not currently served in regular public school facilities. The Commissioner may grant an exception to the space allowance limitations if needed to accomplish these purposes.

(c) In the case of open plan buildings, the Commissioner may approve reasonable variations from the size of the listed program spaces with adjustment in gross project allowances where it can be demonstrated that the planning for such facility reflects good educational practice.

(d) Spaces for special education classes/programs will receive special consideration, in the discretion of the Commissioner, notwithstanding the gross square footage allowances contained in 603 CMR 38.00.

(e) Other exceptions to the minimum and maximum program space allowances may be granted at the discretion of the Commissioner or the Board.

(6) Space Computations. Gross and net square footage and perimeter measurements shall be reported with all preliminary, revised, and final drawings submitted for approval, and shall be computed according to the following methods:

(a) Gross Square Footage. The gross area of a building is the sum of all areas of the several floors, including mezzanines, stairwells, and basements having a floor slab and 7'6" or more headroom. Additionally covered walkways, roofed-over areaways or courts, and similar areas shall be included in the gross area at one half their actual area. All horizontal measurements shall be taken from the exterior face of enclosing walls, at the plane of the floor. The following shall not be included in gross area computation: basements having no floor slab or less than 7'6" headroom; pipe trenches; retaining walls; roof overhangs; exterior terraces; and courts open to the sky.

(b) Net Square Footage. The net area of individual spaces shown on approved educational specifications and included in the plans shall be measured from the inside face of enclosing walls and partitions. Wall thickness shall be excluded.

  1. Basic Instructional Spaces (classrooms) shall include the net area of all non-specialized and special subject teaching areas, including directly-related preparation and equipment storage rooms. Do not include the area of such spaces as ancillary toilets, wardrobes, and teachers' supply closets.

  2. Miscellaneous Educational Space shall include the net area of miscellaneous specified or required educational space, such as gymnasium locker rooms, cafeteria dining areas, kitchens, administration offices, health service unit, guidance quarters, teacher workrooms, storage, community rooms and serving rooms.

  3. Other square footage is determined by subtracting "Basic Instructional "and "Miscellaneous Educational" spaces, determined as above, from the calculated gross area. Thus, "Other" will include wall thickness; corridors, stairways, and other circulation space; general storage areas; custodians' closets and receiving areas; toilets; and heating and mechanical spaces.

(c) Perimeter. The perimeter of a building shall be the sum of the lineal length of the enclosing walls (including piers, wall extensions and courts) taken at the plane of the floor level, including finished basements.

Regulatory Authority:
603 CMR 38.00: M.G.L c. 69, § 1B and Chapter 70B



Last Updated: June 18, 2004
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