School Facilities & Construction

Although currently under suspension by the state legislature, the program normally provides thirty percent costs share grants of state funds to school districts that demonstrate an urgent need for construction that cannot be reasonably addressed by other means. The two types of projects eligible for aid under the suspension are approved emergency projects and approved consolidation projects. Currently, only approved emergency projects are eligible.

Prior to the suspension, schools incorporating renewable energy sources, such as wood chip, geothermal, wind, or solar power were eligible for up to 75 percent state aid. Approved consolidation projects were eligible for 50% aid.

Program staff provide technical assistance to school districts planning construction projects by ensuring that both new and renovated facilities include adequate space for all required state and federal programs and services. In addition to ensuring that schools applying for construction aid follow State Board of Education rules, the program assists schools with meeting the rules of all other state agencies that govern school construction. When federal money is available for school renovations, repairs, or related uses, funds are administered by the program.

Links To Currently Available Information

Indoor Air Sampling for PCBs in Vermont Schools

Universal Recycling Law

The Vermont Legislature passed the Universal Recycling (UR) law , Act 148 of 2012, which bans disposal of recyclables (metal, glass, plastics #1 & #2, and paper/cardboard)—JULY 1, 2015; yard/wood debris—JULY 1, 2016; and food scraps—JULY 1, 2020. The law also requires solid waste haulers and facilities to collect these same materials. For more information, please view the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation Universal Recycling webpage.

USDA Community Facilities Grants

Rural Development in Vermont and New Hampshire are not setting a grant application deadline this year to compete for FY 2014 grant funds. They encourage all applicants to file their grant application when their project is well defined.

Our Partners Good Work

Through the good work of our partners, Efficiency Vermont and the School Energy Management Program, schools can gain valuable information and rebates to help reduce energy consumption and costs.

Tips for Saving Energy PDF

Facts About GREEN Vermont Public Schools PDF

The fact sheet lists the many ways Vermont public school districts are “greening” their facilities and reducing their dependence upon fossil fuels.

Options for Financing Energy Conservation Projects PDF

With the current emphasis on cost savings in school district budgets and the ongoing interest in energy conservation, it is an appropriate time to remind districts of two potential methods for funding energy and operating systems improvements. Please review this guidance from School Finance. Contact: Cassandra Ryan at (802) 479-8545 or cassandra.ryan@state.vt.us.

New Energy Project Authorization PDF

Effective July 1, 2011 school boards will have an additional avenue for securing voter authorization to borrow for energy-saving school facility improvement projects.

Vermont School Construction Planning Guide

The purpose of this guide is to provide general guidance in planning for school construction projects and securing necessary state approvals. The contents are relevant to the construction of a new school, school addition, or alterations to an existing school that increases its program or enrollment capacity, or ensures that it remains a safe and healthy place for students, faculty and community members. The contents may only be partially applicable for school construction related to other purposes. NOTE: A significant update was made to the "Capital Outlay Financing Formula" section of the guide and it should be downloaded and replaced in your print version of the manual. Minor typographical or grammatical changes have been made to all the other sections/appendices but download and replacement is optional.

NOTE: For guidelines and standards for technical centers ONLY, use the document below:

High Performance School Design and Construction Standards PDF

School districts interested in “green” construction and operating standards for school buildings may find useful information in this January 15, 2007 report (as charged by Act 147, sec. 47 of 2006).

Vermont State Board of Education Manual of Rules and Practices (Rule Series 6000: School Buildings and Sites)

NOTE: This rule series has been updated to include the new rules required by 23 V.S.A. §1282(f) for School Bus Idling. The bus idling rules are 6001-6005 and are effective as of May 1, 2008.

Additional Resources

School Bus Idling Law, Administrative Rule, and Potential Penalties

FEMA Flyers for School Districts

Envision School Environmental Health Program

Provides information about materials and practices commonly used in school operation and construction that may compromise indoor air quality or negatively impact human health as well as providing schools with resources, workshop referrals and technical assistance.

School Safety Review Checklist PDF

This checklist is intended to be used (in conjunction with the Vermont School Crisis Guide) by school personnel to annually review the safety of school facilities and school safety procedures. This document also may be tailored to the varying needs and size of Vermont schools.

Cleaning For Health: How to Clean and Disinfect Schools to Help Slow the Spread of Flu and Other Illnesses

Cleaning and disinfecting are part of a broad approach to preventing infectious diseases in schools. Use the link above to view tips from the Flu.gov Web site on how to slow the spread of flu specifically through cleaning and disinfecting.

Important Reminder:

From the Vermont Department of Public Safety, Division of Fire Safety, Office of the State Fire Marshall:

All boilers in school buildings are required to have:

  1. Periodic servicing (cleaning, testing, etc.) by a qualified oil or gas technician at least once every two years.

(2012 VT Fire & Building Safety Code, Section 1:11.5.5.7.1), and

  1. All boilers must be inspected periodically (usually every two years) by a qualified boiler inspector (from insurance companies).

(same code, Section 6(g)).
Contact person:
Bruce Martin (802)885-8883
          Or your school’s regional office of the Fire Safety Division.

Important safety information – Please note:
Many schools have programs for small groups of students which are held in a location other than a school building, such as regional special or early education programs, life skills classes for parenting teens, alternative programs for at-risk high school students, etc.  All buildings used for educational programs must be inspected and approved for safety. When used in whole or in part for educational occupancies, buildings are required to conform to the applicable provisions of the National Fire Protection Association 101 Life Safety Code, as enforced by the Vermont Division of Fire Safety, or by agreement with municipal code enforcement bodies. 

Educational occupancies are considered to be the use of any space by 6 or more persons for 4 or more hours per day or more than 12 hours per week for educational purposes through the twelfth grade.  A recent inspection (within the last 3 or 4 years) is the best evidence of compliance with fire safety requirements.  Inspectors look for basic safety issues such as proper exits, fire alarm systems, CO alarms, safe heating and safe wiring.  An inspection can be requested by contacting any regional office of the Division of Fire Safety at www.firesafety.vermont.gov.

Questions?

Cassandra Ryan, School Finance Analyst, at cassandra.ryan@state.vt.us or (802) 479-8545

Page Last Updated on October 28, 2014