Calculating School Capacity: Strategies for the
New Generation of Learners

Amy Yurko, Educational Planner, 

Kelley Tanner, Educational Planner

BrainSpaces | Connextions

Domains: Process, Parameters  

Course Level: Intermediate

Learning Units: 1 LU/HSW

Room: A601

Saturday, October 28, 2017 @ 2:00 pm


How big should a school building be to effectively serve its mission? One clear methodology for calculating the student capacity of k-12 school facilities does not exist. Architects and planners often struggle to provide facilities that will truly support the number of students and range of programs required by today’s standards and expectations. One thing is for sure: it is no longer simply a count of classrooms. In this session, you will see a variety of state and local mechanisms for determining school size and student capacity for elementary, middle and high schools. We will explore various ways unique programs and schedules can be accommodated within these mechanisms. We will demystify various definitions of commonly used terms such as “efficiency”, “utilization factor” and “teaching station”. Most importantly, we will use actual case-studies to illustrate student capacity calculation models that allow architects and planners to accurately account for the enrollment of a given school – accounting for unique student needs, programs, schedules and intended operational strategies. Through small group exercises, we will develop meaningful translations of various rules-of-thumb into strategies of real schools for real students with real needs.

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Attendees will review and compare various District-wide and State-wide and methodologies for calculating student capacity of K-12 school facilities.
  2. Attendees will learn clear definitions of key terminology used by federal, state and local entities to describe student enrollment and school capacity.
  3. Attendees will create and discuss various strategies for translating big-picture guidelines for school capacity and size into meaningful directives for planning individual schools that meet the unique needs of their communities.
  4. Attendees will see and use various case studies illustrating capacity.