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RULE §61.1036School Facilities Standards for Construction before November 1, 2021

(a) Definitions and procedures. The following words, terms, and procedures, when used in this section, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

  (1) Architect--An individual registered as an architect under the Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 1051, and responsible for compliance with the architectural design requirements and all other applicable requirements of the Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 1051.

  (2) Educational program--A written document, developed and provided by the district, that includes the following information:

    (A) a summary of the school district's educational philosophy, mission, and goals; and

    (B) a description of the general nature of the district's instructional program in accordance with §74.1 of this title (relating to Essential Knowledge and Skills). The written educational program should describe:

      (i) the learning activities to be housed, by instructional space;

      (ii) how the subject matter will be taught (methods of instructional delivery);

      (iii) the materials and equipment to be used and stored;

      (iv) utilities and infrastructure needs; and

      (v) the characteristics of furniture needed to support instruction.

  (3) Educational specifications--A written document for a proposed new school facility or major space renovation that includes a description of the proposed project, expressing the range of issues and alternatives. School districts that do not have personnel on staff with experience in developing educational specifications shall use the services of a design professional or consultant experienced in school planning and design to assist in the development of the educational specifications. The school district shall allow for input from teachers, other school campus staff, and district program staff in developing the educational specifications. The following information should be included in the educational specifications:

    (A) the instructional programs, grade configuration, and type of facility;

    (B) the spatial relationships--the desired relationships for the functions housed at the facility:

      (i) should be developed by the school district to support the district's instructional program;

      (ii) should identify functions that should be:

        (I) adjacent to, immediately accessible;

        (II) nearby, easily accessible; and

        (III) removed from or away from; and

      (iii) should relate to classroom/instructional functions, instructional support functions, building circulation, site activities/functions, and site circulation;

    (C) number of students;

    (D) a list of any specialized classrooms or major support areas, noninstructional support areas, outdoor learning areas, outdoor science discovery centers, living science centers, or external activity spaces;

    (E) a schedule of the estimated number and approximate size of all instructional and instructional support spaces included in the facility;

    (F) estimated budget for the facility project;

    (G) school administrative organization;

    (H) provisions for outdoor instruction;

    (I) hours of operation that include the instructional day, extracurricular activities, and any public access or use;

    (J) the safety of students and staff in instructional programs, such as science and vocational instruction; and

    (K) the overall security of the facility.

  (4) Engineer--An individual registered as an engineer under the Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 1001, and responsible for compliance with the engineering design requirements and all other applicable requirements of the Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 1001.

  (5) Grade levels:

    (A) elementary school level--a school facility that includes some or all grades from prekindergarten through Grade 5 or Grade 6;

    (B) middle school level--a school facility that includes some or all grades from Grade 6 through Grade 8 or Grade 9, or a school facility that includes only Grade 6;

    (C) high school level--a school facility that includes some or all grades from Grade 9 or Grade 10 through Grade 12, or a school facility that includes only Grade 9; and

    (D) secondary school level--a school facility that includes some or all grades from Grade 6 through Grade 12.

  (6) Hazardous chemical--As defined by the Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 502, Hazard Communication Act.

  (7) Instructional space--General classrooms, specialized classrooms, outdoor learning areas, and major support areas.

  (8) Library--Library will include the following minimum requirements:

    (A) reading/instructional area;

    (B) reference/independent study area;

    (C) stack area;

    (D) circulation desk/area;

    (E) computer/online reference areas; and

    (F) necessary ancillary areas, such as offices, workrooms, head-end room, and storage rooms.

  (9) Long-range school facility plan--School districts are encouraged to formulate a long-range facilities plan prior to making major capital investments. When formulating a plan, a school district's process should allow for input from teachers, students, parents, taxpayers, and other interested parties that reside within the school district. Major considerations should include:

    (A) a description of the current and future instructional program and instructional delivery issues;

    (B) the age, condition, and educational appropriateness of all buildings on the campus (in district), considering condition of all components and systems as well as design flexibility, including an estimate of cost to replace or refurbish and appropriate recommendations;

    (C) verification of the suitability of school site(s) for the intended use, considering size, shape, useable land, suitability for the planned improvements, and adequate vehicular and pedestrian access, queuing, parking, playgrounds and fields, etc.; and

    (D) a timeline and a series of recommendations to modify or supplement existing facilities to support the district's instructional program.

  (10) Major space renovations--Renovations to all or part of the facility's instructional space where the scope of the work in the affected part of the facility involves substantial renovations to the extent that most existing interior walls and fixtures are demolished and then subsequently rebuilt in a different configuration and/or function. Other renovations associated with repair or replacement of architectural interior or exterior finishes; fixtures; equipment; and electrical, plumbing, and mechanical systems are not subject to the requirements of subsections (d) and (e) of this section, but shall comply with applicable building codes as required by subsection (f) of this section.

  (11) Portable, modular building--An industrialized building as defined by the Texas Occupations Code, §1202.003, or any other manufactured or site-built building that is capable of being relocated and is used as a school facility.

  (12) Square feet per student--The net square footage of a room divided by the maximum number of students to be housed in that room during any single class period.

  (13) Square feet per room measurements--The net square footage of a room includes exposed storage space, such as cabinets or shelving, but does not include hallway space, classroom door alcoves, or storage space, such as closets or preparation offices. The net square footage of a room shall be measured from the inside surfaces of the room's walls.

  (14) Abbreviations:

    (A) ANSI--American National Standards Institute;

    (B) ICC--International Code Council; and

    (C) NFPA--National Fire Protection Association.

(b) Implementation date. The requirements for school facility standards shall apply to projects for new construction or major space renovations if:

  (1) a board of trustees adopts a fiscal year maintenance and operations budget where a capital improvement project title and a design or design and construction budget are delineated;

  (2) a board of trustees calls a bond election where one or more capital improvement project titles as well as design or design and construction budgets are delineated; or

  (3) a new contract or amendment to an existing contract for architectural services for new construction or a major renovation for a school facility project has been agreed to, and signed and dated by both parties to the agreement after January 1, 2004, and before November 1, 2021.

(c) Certification of design and construction.

  (1) In this section, the word "certify" indicates that the architect or engineer has reviewed the standards contained in this chapter and used the best professional judgment and reasonable care consistent with the practice of architecture or engineering in the State of Texas in executing the construction documents. The architect or engineer also certifies that these documents conform to the provisions of this section, except as indicated on the certification.

  (2) The school district shall notify and obligate the architect or engineer to provide the required certification. The architect's or engineer's signature and seal on the construction documents shall certify compliance.

  (3) To ensure that facilities have been designed and constructed according to the provisions of this section, each of the involved parties shall execute responsibilities as follows.

    (A) The school district shall provide the architect or engineer the educational program and educational specifications approved by the board of trustees as required by this subchapter, and building code specifications for the facility. If a school district has a long-range school facility plan, it shall also be provided to the architect or engineer.

    (B) The architect or engineer shall perform a building code search under applicable regulations that may influence the project, and shall certify that the design has been researched before it is final.

    (C) The architect or engineer shall also certify that the facility has been designed according to the provisions of this section, based on the educational program, educational specifications, long-range school facility plan, building code specifications, and all documented changes to the construction documents provided by the district.

    (D) The building contractor or construction manager shall certify that the facility has been constructed in general accordance with the construction documents specified in subparagraph (C) of this paragraph. If the school district acts as general contractor, it shall make the certification required by this paragraph.

    (E) When construction is completed, the school district shall certify that the facility conforms to the design requirements specified in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph.

    (F) The certifications specified in subparagraphs (A)-(E) of this paragraph shall be gathered on the "Certification of Project Compliance" form developed by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). The school district will retain this form in its files indefinitely until review and/or submittal is required by representatives of the TEA.

(d) Space, minimum square foot, and design requirements.

  (1) A school district shall provide instructional space if required by the district educational specifications described in subsection (e) of this section.

  (2) For each type of instructional space, a district shall satisfy the requirements of this section by using the standard for square feet per room specified in paragraph (5)(B)-(D) of this subsection. For school districts with facilities that have one or more classrooms with maximum class sizes that are normally less than 22 students at the elementary level and less than 25 students at the middle or high school level, the school districts may satisfy the requirements of this section for those classrooms by using the standard for the minimum square feet per student specified in paragraph (5)(B)-(D) of this subsection. These classrooms shall be designed on the basis of expected maximum class size, and not expected average class size. Upon submission by a district, alternate classroom designs with square feet per room measurements less than those specified in this subsection may be considered for approval by the TEA division responsible for state funding on a case-by-case basis.

  (3) School districts should consider providing extra square footage in classrooms where the use on a regular basis of multiple computers, large furniture, televisions, mobile laptop carts, mobile video conferencing carts, monitors on carts, or the like is anticipated. To improve circulation and usability of classroom space, school districts with class sizes that are normally larger than 25 students for Grades 5-12 should also consider increasing the minimum classroom size by adding the appropriate minimum square feet per student specified in paragraph (5)(B)-(D) of this subsection for each student in excess of 25.


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