Back to Schools

Every school day, nearly 50 million K-12 students and 6 million adults occupy close to 100,000 public school buildings on an estimated two million acres of land. The student population increased by nearly five million between 1994 and 2013, requiring an additional 13,000 K-12 schools. Enrollment is projected to increase by 3% between the 2013-2014 and 2025-26 academic years – rising from 50 million to 51.4 million students. State and local governments face a constant challenge to keep up with operations and maintenance and the need for new construction, in addition to accommodating improved health and safety standards, stronger accessibility requirements, and new technology.

Recent government statistics show that a significant numbers of public school facilities are not in acceptable condition. Among public schools with permanent buildings – 99% of public schools – almost a quarter (24%) were rated as being in “fair” or “poor” condition. But 31 percent of schools have temporary buildings, either in addition to or instead of permanent buildings, and the number of these schools in “fair” or “poor” condition rises to 45%. In more than 30% of public school facilities, windows, plumbing, and HVAC systems are considered in “fair” or “poor” condition. Outdoor facilities such as parking lots, bus lanes, drop-off areas, fencing, athletic fields, and sidewalks are also problematic. 36% of school parking lots are in “fair” or “poor” condition, as well as 32% of bus lanes, 31% of athletic facilities, and 27% of playgrounds. More than half (53%) of public schools need to make investments for repairs, renovations, and modernizations to be considered to be in “good” condition.

In many cases, planning is lacking, as four in 10 public schools currently do not have a long-term educational facilities plan in place to address operations and maintenance. The main reason for repair, renovation, or modernization work on school facilities relates to improving energy efficiency as well as technology infrastructure.

Back to Schools