The purpose of educational specifications is to define the
programmatic, functional, spatial, and environmental requirements
of the educational facility, whether new or remodeled, in written
and graphic form for review, clarification, and agreement as to
scope of work and design requirements by the architect, engineer,
and other professionals working on the building design.
Educational specifications must begin with a thorough,
in-depth explanation of curriculum goals and instructional
activities that occur within the learning environment.
A detailed description of the educational program enables
complete and accurate descriptions of functional and spatial
needs and in the end successful design.
Minimum Standards for Educational Specifications
- Philosophy Statement. A philosophy statement covers the
building as a whole and each instructional
- Program Goals. The educational goals of each
instructional program are clearly defined. This includes
learning objectives and the psychological and emotional
concerns of students, when appropriate (as in the
guidance suite and exceptional education rooms).
- Program Activities. Well-defined program activities
determine functional need and ultimately the design of a
successful learning environment. Remember the saying,
"form follows function." Program
activities, whether in the classroom, media center, or
administrative area, determine the "function"
of the learning environment.
- Student Population. The projected enrollment of the
entire building and the maximum capacity needed for each
space are important in defining spatial requirements.
- Space Summary. Itemizing each functional space and
determining square footage allocations is essential in
determining total building square footage and
establishing a realistic construction budget.
- Instructional Technology. New applications of
instructional technology planned of the near future and
considered for the distant future should be described
program by program and in terms of building-wide plans.
- Functional Relationship. Each program space should be
described in terms of its functional relationship to
other activities. Functional relationships should also be
established between department, such as math and science,
English and the media center, and administration and
- General Conditions. In addition to the general program
requirements identified above, many educational
specifications describe internal building requirements in
detail, including but not limited to:
- Heating and air conditioning
- Floor coverings
- Access for people and vehicles
Educational specifications as a Master Plan
Educational specifications documents can also serve as master
planning documents for school districts/ long-term development
and investment in the learning environment if they also
- Existing-building condition analysis
- Existing-building functional analysis
- Detailed descriptions of new instructional technology
- Community use and accessibility
- Site feasibility studies
- Energy consumption guidelines
- Security plans
- Detailed budget analysis
More detailed description of these in ITTEs Facility