Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: Elementary school building capacity

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Wayland MA
    Posts
    1,431

    Default Elementary school building capacity

    School building capacity isn't a single hard-and-fast number, but rather an estimate based on a number of assumptions. Simplistically, and in my opinion (not necessarily representative of the School Committee as a whole), it is limited by either classroom space (including "classroom" specials such as art, music, and technology) or physical "core" space (including cafeteria, physical education, and library). Further, classroom space itself is limited by either class size policy or physical space.

    Peak enrollments at the three elementary schools have been as follows.
    • Claypit Hill: 613 (K-5, 2000-2001)
    • Happy Hollow: 477 (1-5, 1991-1992)
    • Loker: 406 (K-5, 1999-2000)

    The administration's January 11 report showing one possible distribution of students had 591 at Claypit Hill and 428 at the smaller 1-5 elementary school (labeled Happy Hollow in the report). The comparison, then, is between the expected 2008-2009 enrollment, the historical maximums, and the class size policy "maximums."

    The School Committee's class size policy (Section IIB, investigated by a sub-committee back in the 1999-2000 time frame) is as follows.

    Elementary school
    • K-1: 20 students per class
    • 2-3: 23
    • 4-5: 25

    Middle school
    • 6-8: 25

    High school
    • 9-12: 25

    There's a bit of "art" to applying the class size policy to determine a building capacity: how many classrooms and which grades in those classrooms. Here's one configuration for each of two scenarios for the three buildings.

    Claypit Hill: 29 classrooms
    • K-5: 4 K classrooms, 5 Grade 1, 5 G2, 5 G3, 5 G4, 5 G5
    • 1-5: 5 G1, 6 G2, 6 G3, 6 G4, 6 G5

    Happy Hollow/Loker: 20 classrooms
    • K-5: 3 K, 4 G1, 3 G2, 3 G3, 4 G4, 3 G5
    • 1-5: 4 G1, 4 G2, 4 G3, 4 G4, 4 G5

    Based on the classroom counts above, the class size maximum capacities for the buildings are as follows.

    Claypit Hill
    • K-5: 660
    • 1-5: 676

    Happy Hollow/Loker
    • K-5: 453
    • 1-5: 464

    Comparing these class size capacities with the historical maximums suggests that Claypit Hill *may* hit a physical limit before a class size limit, whereas Happy Hollow and Loker likely hit a class size limit first.

    Using the class size limits in the 1-5 cases with the projected enrollments suggests the following capacities for the upcoming 2008-2009 school year.
    • Claypit Hill: 591/676 = 87%*
    • Happy Hollow: 428/464 = 92%

    *Note that if the historical maximum of 613 is full capacity at Claypit Hill, then its 2008-2009 capacity would be 96%. The actual capacity is likely somewhere between the two (87% and 96%).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Wayland MA 463 Old Conn Path
    Posts
    382

    Default Thanks Jeff

    Jeff, I posted the link back to the appropriate blog on the Crier.

    Alan

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Wayland MA
    Posts
    1,431

    Default

    This from the "co-curricular" thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sheila Carel View Post
    Stacey,
    I have heard Dr. Burton say more than once that schools run best at 85% capacity.
    Sheila
    What I've heard Dr. Burton say most frequently regarding the 85% number is that you design new buildings to be at 85% capacity on the day that they open, so that they have room for long-term growth. Of course, that's just a rule of thumb--actual enrollment projections may suggest different capacities.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    12

    Default capacity, classsroom size and class size too please

    I was at the meetings and heard him say on at least 3 occasions that buildings run best at 85% capacity.

    In fact, at the February 4 meeting, Dr. Burton stated in substance that "schools run best at 85% capacity
    - that is the rule of thumb that experts will tell you."
    "Schools run best at about 85% of capacity. Having a bit of breathing room allows for activity setup/
    take-down time, routine maintenance, and a less confining feel," stated one Committee
    member on a Wayland School blog in making a case for the 2006-2007 override on April 2, 2006.
    In addition to the statement was a chart to show the capacity of each school with the proposed
    override. Jeff, you might want to go back and check your blog to refresh your memory.



    I've also been doing a bit of research on building capacity and classroom sizes.

    I know that as you did your analyses, you compared square footage in the buildings and square footage in the classrooms. However, I didn't see them posted on the SC website. Perhaps I missed the information.

    Please post the following information.
    1) square footage of the classrooms at both HH and CH.
    2) square footage of HH and CH.
    3) the actual number of students who will be attending CH and HH with a breakdown by grade level and the number of sections per grade level.

    People are concerned about crowding.

    I thank you in advance for providing this information Jeff.
    Last edited by Sheila Carel; 06-06-2008 at 08:55 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    726

    Default 85% capacity seems most key when there are room changes

    Hi Sheila,

    My impression is that 85% number is for schools in which the kids change rooms, and teachers need to setup for and break down classrooms for dealing with kids who move in and out of the class.

    While the numbers I'm seeing for next year certainly seem tight (and I share your crowding concerns), I'm not sure the slack capacity is needed so much at the elementary level.

    But I probably should have left this one to the more knowledgeable experts... So Jeff, please correct me if I have it wrong on that one.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    12

    Default numbers and capacity

    Kim,
    The problem is that we don't even have the numbers by which to determine the capacity. That is why we are asking.
    In researching the topic of school capacity, I found some interesting articles.

    See links:
    http://www.dejonginc.com/definingcapacity.pdf

    This one says for a school with 20 classrooms, you would expect a capacity of 350 students. (That would be HH)
    According to Jeff's post, there are 29 classrooms at Claypit. If you look at the chart, listed on this site, you would expect capacity to be 525.

    I"ve also found articles pertaining to classroom size and capacity.

    http://www.coe.uga.edu/sdpl/research...toriality.html

    I've copied a table from this article so you can see what an expert deems the MINIMUM standard.


    Table 1


    A Minimum Standard for Classroom Size


    Number of Students
    plus 1 Teacher Elementary School

    10
    539 (50.13)


    11
    564 (52.45)
    12
    637 (59.24)
    13
    686 (63.80)

    14
    735 (68.36)
    15
    784 (72.91)
    16
    833 (77.47)


    17
    882 (82.03)
    18
    931 (86.58)

    19
    980 (91.14)


    20
    1029 (95.70)


    He stops at 20. I would be curious to know the sizes of the rooms so we can see what realistically should be the target number of students per classroom.
    I would also be interested in learning how many children will actually be put in those rooms. I'm sure we could do the calculations to determine how much space they need according to these minimum standards.


    These are minimal sizes for elementary level.
    Last edited by Sheila Carel; 06-07-2008 at 07:52 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    726

    Default I read the DeJong article differently...

    Hi Sheila,

    DeJong calculates capacity by taking the number of classrooms, subtracting out rooms for special classrooms (such as a music or art room) and then multiplying by 25 (a proxy for the building's average class size).

    I don't know the figures (though I'm sure several of you do), but there are clearly more than 20 classrooms as a starting point at HH using that methodology. The 20 classrooms already has the special rooms taken out.

    So DeJong would say HH has a capacity of 20x25 or 500. We know the actual capacity is less than that, as we don't plan to have 25 kids in an average classroom.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    12

    Default # of Classrooms

    I was using the numbers posted by Jeff.
    Are they different from what he posted?

    This calculation also assumes 25 students per class, which is high.
    So we would have to adjust for the class sizes Wayland suggests:

    Elementary school

    K-1: 20 students per class
    2-3: 23
    4-5: 25


    However, until we get the numbers I asked Jeff for, including how many sections they will have at each grade level at each site, we cannot really calculate this. Again, this would be looking at the overall capacity of the school.

    I do think we should also look at minimum space requirements per child in order to determine whether or not the classes would be considered acceptable or overcrowded.

    Until we get those numbers, we really can't move forward on the discussion of space and capacity.
    Last edited by Sheila Carel; 06-07-2008 at 06:02 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Wayland MA
    Posts
    1,431

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sheila Carel View Post
    I was at the meetings and heard him say on at least 3 occasions that buildings run best at 85% capacity.

    In fact, at the February 4 meeting, Dr. Burton stated in substance that "schools run best at 85% capacity
    - that is the rule of thumb that experts will tell you."
    I've heard the 85% number used both ways: capacity upon opening of a building and capacity "in use." When the point has been explored in more detail, the Superintendent has clarified to indicate that the former is the stronger driver. At least, that's been my interpretation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sheila Carel View Post
    I know that as you did your analyses, you compared square footage in the buildings and square footage in the classrooms. However, I didn't see them posted on the SC website. Perhaps I missed the information.

    Please post the following information.
    1) square footage of the classrooms at both HH and CH.
    2) square footage of HH and CH.
    3) the actual number of students who will be attending CH and HH with a breakdown by grade level and the number of sections per grade level.
    The Committee's comparison document (page 2) has the data for your second question. I don't have the information to flesh out your first and third ones, but I expect the third one to be addressed by the Committee shortly. I think that the HH and LO classrooms range in size from about 800 square feet to about 1,200 square feet (there may be a few outliers), with an average in the neighborhood of 950 square feet.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    I've heard the 85% number used both ways: capacity upon opening of a building and capacity "in use." When the point has been explored in more detail, the Superintendent has clarified to indicate that the former is the stronger driver. At least, that's been my interpretation.
    Jeff....I think you have stated on a blog that they run best at 85% capacity.
    Why has your thinking changed? Have you found some good literature that led you to that conclusion. If so, please post the reference.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    The Committee's comparison document (page 2) has the data for your second question.
    I asked for the square footage for Happy Hollow and Claypit, not Loker.
    I believe the comparison listed Loker. I am concerned about the students being crowded at HH and Claypit. Can you get us the information for Claypit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post

    I don't have the information to flesh out your first and third ones, but I expect the third one to be addressed by the Committee shortly. I think that the HH and LO classrooms range in size from about 800 square feet to about 1,200 square feet (there may be a few outliers), with an average in the neighborhood of 950 square feet.
    I would hope you have the information. I know they're bussing students to the classrooms next week. With the exception of new people moving into town, of which I understand there are many, it seems you should know how many students will be in each building and at each grade level.

    I have already posted the suggested minimal space requirements I found while reviewing the lit. on class size and capacity. Perhaps the SC should examine those or further investigate to make sure we are not creating overcrowded conditions.

    Jeff, there are rumors flying around the Loker has been rented out. Are these true? If so, who is renting? Also, for how long is the lease. If people keep moving in at the pace we've seen since the override, we may be having to reopen Loker as at k-5 sooner than expected. Will this be a problem due to a leasing commitment?

    Thanks,
    Sheila

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Wayland MA
    Posts
    1,431

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sheila Carel View Post
    Jeff....I think you have stated on a blog that they run best at 85% capacity.
    Why has your thinking changed? Have you found some good literature that led you to that conclusion. If so, please post the reference.
    Two years ago, I wrote to the effect that schools run best at 85% capacity. "Run best" was my interpretation of the 85% number. I had since heard the Superintendent say on several occasions that the 85% number was really a "capacity at time of opening" rule of thumb.

    Has the Superintendent (or anyone else) used the number in both the "run best" and "time of opening" meanings? That wouldn't surprise me. Which is true? I don't really know, and I can't imagine that there is literature that would support one meaning or another, or even one percentage or another. If there is, I'd be interested to see it.

    My estimate (based on class size policy, not room size) is that CH and HH will both be at about 90% of capacity next year (all rooms in use, each room 90% full on average). Each time that enrollment drops such that a section can be removed, the utilized capacity drops by about 5% (1 room out of 19 at HH; the percentage drop is closer to 3% at CH with 29 classrooms).

    Based on enrollment projections, then, both building capacity utilizations would drop to on the order of 85% in 2009-2010. Whether one is comfortable with utilizations of 85%, 90%, or 95% is affected by whether enrollment is declining or increasing. 95% in a time of decline might even be more palatable than 90% in a time of increase.

    As Kim points out above, however, I think that different target utilizations make sense at different school levels. At the ES level, where students aren't changing classes each period, the number can be a bit higher than at the MS or especially the HS level.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sheila Carel View Post
    I asked for the square footage for Happy Hollow and Claypit, not Loker. I believe the comparison listed Loker. I am concerned about the students being crowded at HH and Claypit. Can you get us the information for Claypit.
    I don't recall the Committee seeing square footage numbers for CH. I don't have them. You can get them by making a request of the Superintendent's office.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sheila Carel View Post
    Jeff, there are rumors flying around the Loker has been rented out. Are these true? If so, who is renting? Also, for how long is the lease. If people keep moving in at the pace we've seen since the override, we may be having to reopen Loker as at k-5 sooner than expected. Will this be a problem due to a leasing commitment?
    To my knowledge, Loker has not been rented out, but we haven't met as a Committee since Monday 6/2. It's my understanding that the Superintendent is or has been looking into pre-school or special education tenants. It's also my understanding that these are the only type of tenants that he's looking at, which is consistent with the wishes expressed by the Committee. I can't imagine that we would make any sort of commitment that would tie our hands in any sort of long-term way with respect to our own use of the building.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •