Why build an Olympic-sized swimming pool at your school if there’s already one in the neighborhood that students can use? Got a parking lot or a playing field that the nearby church or Little League could use when school’s not in session?
The purpose of this credit is to build community by sharing school resources with non-school groups, and vice versa. In addition, sharing spaces and services among schools and other community entities can cut down on construction costs and operating expenses, while helping everyone get access to resources they need.
The amount of work involved in this credit will be unique to each school and community. Schools will often informally share the use of various building spaces. If this is already happening at your school, it could cost little to nothing to formalize these agreements in order to meet the LEED requirements. Sometimes minor changes, like adding security gates, may need to be made; these will require some additional costs.
If your school doesn’t have relationships with community groups or experience with sharing facilities, it may take some time and effort to establish these connections.
Student safety can be a concern whenever you have more traffic in the school building, whether during or outside of school hours. The degree of concern will depend on the strategies you choose for sharing spaces, but often the problem can be addressed properly by installing security gates limiting access to appropriate areas.
A parking lot can be a resource for neighboring organizations that need it when school is not in session.Projects should also consider concerns around liability and insurance, increased wear-and-tear, trash and extending hours of cleaning or security personnel. Whether these are an issue will likely be project-specific.
Option 1 is to provide at least three shared spaces in the school that are open to the public. You can choose from the auditorium, gymnasium, cafeteria, classroom, playing fields or parking areas. Typically the easiest and safest options are playing fields and parking areas.
Option 2 is to provide two spaces in the school for exclusive use by another organization. This could include an arrangement with the local police department to allow them to have offices in the school or providing a local community group with a classroom.
Option 3 is to set up an arrangement with two organizations that are willing to allow students to access their facilities. This can include an auditorium, gymnasium, cafeteria, classroom, swimming pool, or playing field. An example of this type of arrangement would be for students to have access to the local swimming pool and gymnasium for physical education and after-school events.
Check to see if the school already has a joint-use agreement with local organizations such as scouting groups, civic or church groups, neighborhood associations, family services, and various community groups. Even if current arrangements don’t meet LEED requirements, they may already be halfway there; existing arrangements may simply need to be formalized.
Consider sites with access to shared facilities when selecting your project site.
If your school was already planning to provide joint-use facilities, earning this credit will bring minimal additional cost, if any.
If your school did not plan on providing joint-use facilities, meeting the requirements could mean building an additional room or paying a fee to use nearby facilities. However, most teams find it easy to meet the requirements through the use of planned spaces and existing agreements. This will help keep costs low.
There may be opportunities for purchasing land or properties with other partner organizations, saving money for both parties.
Start working on this credit in the early stages of planning. It can take a long time to work out the details of agreements between the school board (or other decision-making body) and community organizations. Also, space may need to be added to accommodate joint-use facilities, so plan for this early. If you wait until the design is finalized, you may have to redesign parts of the building.
Determine which option(s) are best for your school and community organizations:
This credit can offer an easy exemplary performance point, depending on existing arrangements with community organizations. You simply need to meet two of the three credit options to earn the point for exemplary performance.
None of the options for earning the credit is necessarily easier or more complicated than another. Choosing among the options really depends on your school’s needs, existing arrangements, space requirements or constraints, proximity to other facilities, and revenue capacity. It is best to minimize the addition of square footage to accommodate this credit; try using the space that you already have.
All the options come with design considerations and require specific programming arrangements. For example, spaces may need to be designed for multiple uses and accessibility.
Explore different options for shared spaces. Discuss what spaces make the most sense for your school and community.
See if community funds are available to aid the purchase of the land or the construction of the building. This could help the school purchase more desirable land, locate in a more centralized area, or build more amenities on the site.
This option provides accessibility to three joint-use spaces for the general public. The school board decides which spaces are to be available for public use, and the building is designed accordingly. Many schools choose to open the gym, playing fields and parking lots to the community before and after school hours.
Contact local community groups or organizations to determine their interest in occupying a space on the school’s property. Consider the type of community group or organization that makes the most sense for your school.
See if community funds are available to aid the purchase of the land or the construction of the building. This could help the school purchase more desirable land, locate in a more centralized area, or build more amenities on the site.
This option provides dedicated-use spaces to two community organizations. The school board decides which organizations are most interested and best-suited, and the design and contractual agreements are dealt with accordingly. A few options to consider include:
Providing dedicated-use spaces for an organization has the potential to be a revenue source for the school. It also allows shared services with these organizations and can lower the school’s operating costs.
Explore nearby facilities that the school could benefit from using. Begin discussing options for use with organizations running them.
Under this option, the school has access to two nearby facilities. The only design consideration for this credit is providing dedicated pedestrian access from the school to the shared facility. Many schools choose to forgo the addition of a pool or gym if there are similar facilities nearby and a satisfactory arrangement can be made to allow student access.
Using a neighborhood facility such as a pool benefits students without adding construction costs. The school saves money on operational expenses but may pay a fee for use, depending on the arrangement with the other facilities.
Design the school to meet accessibility and safety requirements. Specific needs will depend on the project, but may include permanent or temporary security gates, separate entry doors, and separate bathrooms
Determine how the spaces that are open to the general public will be treated after hours. Consider utility bills, which doors will be open to the public, and how the space will be staffed.
Decide how the shared facilities can be used by the general public, and determine the means of communicating this.
Ideally, place the shared facilities close to the perimeter of the building and near the parking lot. This will allow easy access for community members and limit interruptions during the school day. Additionally, if these spaces are located at the center of the school, it is more difficult to control for safety.
When providing joint-use spaces to the community, consider operational expenses. For example, if these arrangements do not allow community access during the school day, a security guard may be required after hours.
Design a large classroom with movable partitions to allow for community meetings in the evening. (Consider the acoustical implications of this design, however, as you may find it more difficult to meet the acoustics prerequisite IEQp3 with larger classrooms and interior partitions.) Locate restrooms adjacent to or near the shared facilities so that these groups are not walking across the school to get to the restroom. Security gates may be installed, so place them in areas that allow for safety but do not limit the flow of school foot traffic. Also, consider fire egress when installing security gates that may divide the shared facility from other parts of the school.
Provide permanent or movable security gates, depending upon the needs of the school.
Design the school to meet accessibility and safety requirements. Specific needs will depend on the project, but may include permanent or
temporary security gates, separate entry doors, and separate bathrooms
Define how utility bills, rent and shared services will be paid for dedicated-use facilities. It may be most appropriate to submeter those spaces.
Sign formal agreements with local organizations to allow for dedicated-use spaces on the school grounds.
Ideally, place the dedicated-use facilities close to the perimeter of the building and near the parking lot. This will allow easy access for community members and limit interruptions during the school day. Additionally, if these spaces are located at the center of the school, it is more difficult to control for safety.
When providing the benefit of dedicated spaces to a community organization, consider operational expenses. For example, you may want to share operational and utility expenses with the organization.
Provide exterior access and private restrooms to dedicated-use facilities so that the organization sharing space with the school can come and go without interrupting the school day.
The agreement does not have to be extremely formal; it can simply be a signed letter by the participating organizations agreeing to share space. (See examples in the Documentation Toolkit.)
Provide permanent or movable security gates, depending upon the needs of the school and community organizations.
Determine the safest pedestrian route between the school and the shared community facility.
Add a crosswalk with signals and other traffic-calming features to provide safe pedestrian access for students. See Resources for organizations supporting these initiatives.
Verify that security gates, separate entry, restrooms and pedestrian access are shown on the site plans, as applicable.
Upload documentation to LEED Online depending on the chosen option. See the options below for specific guidance.
Upload to LEED Online an example of communication to the general public and a site plan that highlights security gates, separate entry, and restrooms for shared spaces.
Upload to LEED Online a signed agreement with each organization for which you are providing a dedicated-use space. The agreement should detail how each space will be shared. Also provide a site plan highlighting security gates, separate entry, and restrooms for shared spaces.
Upload to LEED Online a site plan showing direct pedestrian access from the school to each joint-use space.
As applicable to your project, verify that security gates, separate entry, restrooms and pedestrian access are built as designed.
Make clearly defined rules or arrangements with the general public, local organizations and nearby facilities. This will make the agreements more sustainable and provides the most benefit for both school and community.
Excerpted from LEED 2009 for Schools New Construction and Major Renovations
To make the school a more integrated part of the community by enabling the building and its playing fields to be used for nonschool events and functions.
In collaboration with the school board or other decision-making body, ensure that at least 3 of the following types of spaces included in the school are accessible to and available for shared use by the general public: auditorium, gymnasium, cafeteria/cafetorium, 1 or more classrooms, playing fields, and/or joint parking.
Provide a separate entry to the spaces intended for joint use. The entry can be from a school lobby or corridor near an entrance convenient to public access, which can be secured from the rest of the school after normal school hours and has toilets available.
In collaboration with the school board or other decision-making body, engage in a contract with community or other organizations to provide at least 2 types of dedicated-use spaces in the building.
Dedicated-use spaces include, but are not limited to:
Provide a separate entry to the spaces intended for joint use. The entry can be from a school lobby or corridor near an entrance convenient to public access, which can be secured from the rest of the school after normal school hours and which has toilets available.
In collaboration with the school district or other decision-making body, ensure that at least 2 of the following 6 types of spaces that are owned by other organizations/agencies are accessible to students:
Provide direct pedestrian access to these spaces from the school. In addition, provide signed agreements with the other organizations/ agencies that stipulate how they and the school district and organizations or agencies will share these spaces.
Contact other public agencies and organizations that may wish to use school facilities. For example, parks and recreation departments may need use of additional fields, while school districts may need use of a community pool.
This article discusses community-school partnerships, joint use, and security, with particular reference to the Independence School District in Ohio.
This document introduces a process for engaging all educational stakeholders in school planning that more adequately addresses the needs of the whole learning community.
This online document provides a model for creating guidelines for the rental of school spaces by outside parties.
This study addresses the challenges of providing parking for users of multiple facilities on one site and provides case study information to illustrate how these challenges have been resolved in certain circumstances.
This website provides guidance on comprehensive pedestrian and bicycle programs for safe routes.
Website celebrating International Walk to School Month (October), which focuses on creating safer streets, promoting healthier habits, and conserving the environment.
Organization advocating for pedestrians.
This sample narrative and plans from an actual project show the shared facilities and explain special circumstances for this school in terms of earning the credit.
A written agreement with an outside organization is required for documentation of Option 3. This example was used under a previous version of LEED for Option 1, but provides a good example of the kind of documentation needed for Option 3.
The following links take you to the public, informational versions of the dynamic LEED Online forms for each Schools-2009 SS credit. You'll need to fill out the live versions of these forms on LEED Online for each credit you hope to earn.
Version 4 forms (newest):
Version 3 forms:
These links are posted by LEEDuser with USGBC's permission. For more information, visit LEED Online and click "Sample Forms Download."
Documentation for this credit can be part of a Design Phase submittal.
Is allowable in terms of the credit requirements that the university project that I'm working with rents facilities to the community?
Gabriela, this seems consistent with the credit requirements. Do you have any particular doubts?
Thanks Tristan, my doubt was if I could use these facilities that the university will rent in order to comply with the credit requirements.
Our project has a signed agreement with a nearby university, valid until June 2013. It is a yearly agreement that has been, so far, renewed once expired.
Does LEED require a minimum validity for this agreement? I.e, if we're submitting the Final Construction Review in March 2013, and the agreement is valid until June 2013, would that suffice?
Omar, I'm not aware of any duration-related requirements that are required or have been requested for this credit.
Would playgrounds be considered available for shared use in the community? They don't list playgounds, but they do list playing fields. This playground will be 100% ADA accessible which makes a very valuable community asset.
I woud think a playgound would work, but I can't confirm that from project experiennce. Have you gotten a ruling on this yet? I'm checking for other input.
In option 1, what does 'retain evidence of communication used to notify the public of shared space availability' mean? Do we need to have a sign? Is a sign up sheeet at the reception desk sufficient? Do they need to advertise in the local paper or on their website?
Dana, I think it may be different for different projecs, but whatever would establish a "paper trail" showing that the availability of the space was communicated. Minutes from a public meeting, a sign, a press release, a school newsletter or memo.... a sign-up sheet doesn't seem sufficient to me... if no one knows about it.
The credit language for Option 1 states in part that...... "at least three(3) of the following spaces included in the school are accessible to and avilable for shared use by the general public: Auditorium;Gym;Cafertia/Cafetorium, one or more Classrooms; Playing Field."
Question: Does identifying three(3) separate Classrooms meet the requirements of SS10?
James - We've asked this question to GBCI before and they responded that the three spaces need to be different use types, not just three different classrooms.
Ben, I'm surprised, given that the credit language says "1 or more classrooms." I would have thought at least 2 classrooms would pass muster, based on that.
Will letters of Intent about the Joint-Use agreements satisfy the proof criteria for this credit? We have a school that will have Joint-Use agreements with a number of surrounding community venues, however these will only be executed by the School administration staff after they move into the facility. I am debating whether to defer this credit to the Construction Phase and hope that the administration executes the contracts quickly after school starts, or to submit it during the Design Submittal with the Letter of Intent as proof documentation.
I have seen letters used as documentation on other projects. I would think this would be approved; however, only GBCI knows for sure!
I'm working on a High School project that meets all three options in SSc10. Do you think I would be eligible to apply for an Innovation and Design point as well as an exemplary point for complying with all three options?
No, I don't think so. If a credit is eligible for the EP point with a certain higher-than-normal threshold, than surpassing that threshold even further doesn't open up the option for an additional innovation point through IDc1.
Ok, thanks- however, I do see on the official form in the Summary section "The project team reserves one point in the Innovation and Design credit category for SSc10."
What would qualify for an ID point?
EP points are officially awarded through IDc1—that's what it's referring to.
Our LEED project is a new library on a high school campus registered under LEED for Schools v2.0.
Sustainable Sites Credit 10, Joint Use of Facilities, Option 1 – For this credit, we are planning to share a conference room that is in the new library, however, the remaining spaces contain valuable equipment so the school does not want to open up these other spaces. In order to meet the criteria for Option 1, we need three spaces. Are we able to share with the general public the existing Auditorium and Gymnasium on campus, even though it is not a part of the new Library facility seeking LEED?
I think it would need to be part of the LEED project in order to count towards this credit. Can you include parking spaces or playing fields as shared spaces? Those are usually pretty easy to make work.
I would have guessed that you could make a case for it, as playing fields or parking lots, which are commonly used for this credit, might be on the same campus but not naturally within the LEED boundary. I would defer to Shannon's expertise, but if you really want to make a case for it in your submission because the other options are tougher, I might try for it.
I heard from USGBC that shared facilities used in SSc10 may lie outside of the LEED Project Boundary provided that the spaces are within the school’s larger campus boundary.
Good news for you and other projects! And I think this fits well with the credit intent. You don't have to include those spaces in other LEED credits.
Great news! Thanks for the update!
Hmm, that's helpful, Tristan. Can you share the USGBC contact or document that confirmed for you that shared facilities may lie outside of the LEED boundary as long as they are within the campus boundary? I ask because I am working on a LEED for Schools v2.0 project that was denied the credit with the following explanation:
"The project team has indicated that the shared use facilities are located within the existing school building and outside of the LEED project boundary for this project. Shared use facilities must be within the LEED project boundary to qualify for this credit. The documentation does not demonstrate credit compliance."
That struck me as unfair at the time since the existing school had never been a LEED project, meaning there was no opportunity for double-counting. And your news definitely makes me want to push for the credit. So where will I find the official ruling?
Kris, was this a recent ruling that you received? What is the number of the review team?
I would look first at the MPR supplemental guidance, page 14, which supports this kind of compliance, although not this specific situation.
The guidance I referenced earlier was in a direct communication from USGBC LEED staff, so unfortunately it's not "precedent setting."
No, it was some time ago. The final design review comments were received 10/06/2009. The review team was #15, and an individual who responded to our inquiry regarding another credit was Christine Frankovich
From the information you gave, I don't see the logic for the ruling. Given that the LEED reviewers are fallible, I think this is a case of an incorrect ruling. But again, they may be using logic that I'm not thinking of, and of course it's up to how they interpret it.
Under Option 1, one of our shared uses will be the playing fields. Does anyone know if we have to provide restroom access? The old school does have shared playing fields, but doesn't provide the restrooms.
"Has toilets available" is a requirement for option 1 and option 2, as shown in the credit language (see above).
It's interesting that the way this language is written, it seems to assume indoor space, even though playing fields are given as an example, so perhaps you could argue that the requirement shouldn't apply to fields.
On the other hand, restrooms are pretty important to people using playing fields, in my experience. I don't really see a way around this.
Thanks Tristan. It does seem like it would be a big help to have the restrooms available, and part of the spirit of the credit. Thanks for replying so quickly.
If you are attempting Option 3 of this credit (accessibility to outside facilities), it is likely that you will also be able to earn SSc2.
Be aware of any sacrifices to acoustical performance resulting from use of large classrooms to accommodate community groups.
Do you know which LEED credits have the most LEED Interpretations and addenda, and which have none? The Missing Manual does. Check here first to see where you need to update yourself, and share the link with your team.
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