OFFICE OF INSTRUCTIONAL RESOURCES
University of Florida
Infrastructure Requirements for New and Renovated Classrooms and Lecture Halls
These specifications provide a checklist for planning for the construction or remodeling of general
classrooms, lecture halls, and computer classrooms. Academic buildings and classrooms must be designed
to facilitate the use of technology in teaching and learning. To do this, planning must include light control,
acoustics, wiring and conduits for telephone, data and video transmission, and projection, window
treatment, noise control, and equipment storage.
In addition to the infrastructure requirements, specifications for audiovisual equipment, computers, chalk
boards, and classroom furniture are provided.
The specifications are organized into categories. The first section includes general guidelines for buildings
and classrooms. The second section provides guidelines for specific types of classrooms. The Appendix
includes current equipment and furniture standards for purchasing.
The authors of this document acknowledge the sources from which much of the enclosed material has been
Classroom Design Manual
Authors: Robert L. Allen, Penn State University (retired)
J.Thomas Bowen, University of Georgia
Sue Clabaugh, University of Maryland, College Park
Beth B. DeWitt, Ohio State University
JoEllen Francis, University of Illinois
John P. Kerstetter, Kent State University
Donald A. Rieck, Iowa State University
Penn State Technology Classroom Design Guidelines
Office of Instructional Technology
University of Maryland-Baltimore County
University of Cincinnati
Division of the University Architect, Campus Planning and Design
Design Guidance: Teaching Spaces
In each building, provision should be made for an audiovisual equipment closet that is approximately 10’ x
10’ in size. A secure location such as a rack or cabinet should be provided at the back of the classroom for
projection devices such as slide projectors. Power and remote control abilities will be provided as
Doors should be located at both the front and rear of the room. When a choice between locations must be
made, a door should be located at the rear of the room in order to avoid disruption when students enter late
or leave early.
Door hardware should be used that muffles sound when they are opened and closed. This is especially
important in lecture halls where the sound of the heavy fire doors banging is disruptive.
Light controls should be located both proximate to the instructor’s area and near the classroom entrance.
and provide separate chalkboard and instructor lighting.
Common measures of disruptive noise control should be provided for air conditioning and door hardware.
Specifications for air conditioning should provide the equivalent of:
• Distant fan sources and low duct velocities at the point of entry in the room
• Pre-insulated double-wall duct work with a perforated liner and well-designed
Acoustical control surfaces on ceilings, walls, and floors will be provided as necessary.
All rooms should have a minimum of two screens per room, one in the front that is electrically controlled
and another that is a manual or electric corner screen. Screen size (width) should be at least 1/5 distance to
the furthest viewer. The bottom of the screen should be at least 42 inches from the floor. Screens should
be recessed in the ceiling where possible. No student seating should be closer than two image widths to the
screen. The screen surface should be flat matte.
The following guidelines are provided by the University of Colorado, Boulder Classroom Guidelines &
Room Seating Center of Screen to Screen Required Approx. Minimum
Depth Capacity Rear Corner Seat Diagonal Mount Ht.
< 30’ 20- 50 < 35’ 72” w by 72” h 8.5’ 8.5’
30’ to 35’ 50-100 35’ to 42’ 84” w by 72” h 9’ 9.25’
35’ to 40’ 100-150 40’ to 46’ 96” w by 72” h 10’ 10’
40’ to 46’ 150-210 46’ to 52’ 108” w by 81” h 11’ 10.75’
46’ to 52’ 210-300 52’ to 58’ 120” w by 90” h 12.5’ 11.50’
52’ to 58’ 300-400 58’ to 64’ 144” w by 108” h 15’ 13’
58’ to 64’ 400-500 64’ to 70’ 168” w by 126” h 17.5’ 14.5’
Network wiring for the classrooms will provide access to the campus core network and to the Internet.
Classrooms will be on a separate, dedicated electronic network from the building switch. Video
distribution will be provided.
Each classroom will contain two standard interface “patch panels” for connecting equipment to the
classroom’s infrastructure. Equipment to be connected to the patch panel might be mobile (carried in by
the instructor or delivered from a distribution center), or anchored in the room in some way. All wiring and
electronics will provide a seamless transition from one room or building to another so that a single
computer configuration will be sufficient to gain access to the campus core infrastructure and the Internet.
The patch panels should be located as close as possible to the instructor’s space and to the room light
controls. Patch panels should be located away from room exits to minimize tripping hazards due to cables
attached to the panels. If a permanent teaching podium is installed in the classroom, the patch panel should
be fully replicated on that podium.
Power/Lighting/Screen Control Panels (high voltage) will consist of 4 120 VAC power, and electric screen
control. Lighting control may be incorporated, but is not required. The standard panel will have 4 120
VAC outlets in the form of two single-gang duplex outlets spaced 1.5” apart horizontally. The additional
spacing is required for plug-in transformers. A three-position control switch for the electric screen will also
be provided, providing up, down, and stop control for the screen. An alternate design is available if more
outlets or light control switches are required. Box size is the same, with reduced horizontal clearance.
Multimedia Panels (low voltage) provides connections to the room’s visual and sound systems, as well as
1. Computer Video to Projector (HD15 female jack)
2. Computer Audio to Projector (1/8” female stereo mini jack)
3. Serial to Projector (DB9 female jack)
4. Video to Projector (RCA female jack)
5. Left Audio to Projector (RCA female jack)
6. Right Audio to Projector (RCA female jack)
7. Data – 5 Category 5 Twisted Pair to appropriate communications closet
a. Data Jack (RJ45 jack, accepts RJ11 plug)
b. Data Jack (RJ45 jack, accepts RJ11 plug)
c. Communications (RJ45 jack, accepts RJ11 plug)
d. Communications (RJ45 jack, accepts RJ11 plug)
e. Utility (does not appear on exterior of patch panel, used for alarm system, etc.)
8. 4 fiber to closet (ST connectors)
9. Video (may be CATV to appropriate communications closet (female f-connector))
See Appendix C.
A telephone or other voice communication device should be located proximate to the instructor area in the
classroom. It should provide an immediate connection to the classroom support staff.
General Purpose Classrooms
Classrooms should be designed so that they provide acceptable viewing angles for projected materials and
for the chalkboard. The shape of rooms must consider both horizontal and vertical sight lines and eye
contact between the instructor and students. The room must have an adequate instructor area that also
provides a reasonable distance from the screen for student seating (approximately two viewing lengths). At
least 100 square feet is needed for the instructor area in classrooms. All seats should be located within 45
degrees of the centerline of all projection screens.
In rectangular rooms, the seating should face an instructor area located along the narrow wall of the room.
• Instructor area on narrow wall
• All seats within 45 of the centerline of
the projector screen
At least two whiteboards or chalkboards must be installed in every general purpose classroom. At least 11’
feet of chalkboard space should be accessible when the screen is being used. This may require the
installation of an additional board in the room. Boards should be at least 4’ high and 11’ long. A bulletin
board area should be provided.
General purpose classrooms may have one of four levels of media equipment within the classrooms:
• Level One: screens and overhead projector
• Level Two: screens, overhead projector, monitor and VCR
• Level Three: screens, overhead projector, video and data patch panel, electrical patch panel,
VCR, and data projector
• Level Four: screens, overhead projector, video and data patch panel, electrical patch panel,
data projector, document camera, and computer
Additional special purpose media devices such as DVD players, laserdisc players, slide-to-video
converters, slide projectors, laptop computer/projector carts, TV/VCR carts, or other available devices will
be delivered to the classrooms from a University distribution center as necessary.
Coverings for windows must be capable of eliminating all outside light, including the perimeter, from
reaching the projection screen(s). Opaque roller blinds, opaque draperies, or snug-fold or accordion
shades installed to prevent light leakage are the best option for light control. Vertical or horizontal shades
or blinds do not provide adequate room darkening for projected images.
Room capacity is based on the square footage of the room minus the instructor area divided by the square
feet per type of seating. The guidelines below should be used in calculating the room capacity:
Room Capacity = Total Sq. Ft. – 50 sq. ft. instructor area x station factor*
TYPE OF SEATING STATION FACTOR
Movable tablet armchairs 15 sq. ft.
Tables and chairs 20 sq. ft.
Fixed seating w/ folding tablet arms 15 sq. ft
Theater fixed seating w/ folding tablet arms 13-15 sq. ft.
* The station factor includes seating area and the aisles.
Movable seating is required for classrooms with fewer than 75 seats unless there is special authorization.
See Appendix A for the current chair that is used for general classroom seating.
Tablet arm chairs should contain at least 150 square inches of writing surface.
Tables and chairs may be desirable when additional work space is needed. It should be noted, however,
that the use of tables reduces the seating capacity of a room. In general, tables should be at least 18 inches
deep. Bases should have adjustable glides for leveling and a pvc edge is more durable than a self-edge.
Instructor tables and chairs should be provided in every classroom that does not have a multimedia podium.
The instructor table should have a front privacy panel.
ADA compliant furniture should be included in accordance with Florida Statues and the A.D.A.
Specifications can be found at http://www.dca.state.fl.us/fhcd/programs/appd/adacode/index.html in section
A lectern will be provided for every classroom. In smaller classrooms, the lectern will be placed on the
instructor table. In larger classrooms, the lectern will be free standing. In these classrooms, a small table
will be provided for an overhead projector (See Appendix B.).
Lighting for classrooms must take into consideration the use of media in instruction. The lighting will need
to be dimmable to allow for projection while permitting students to take notes. The chalkboard will need
lighting as well as the instructor area so that the instructor can see notes when the lights are dimmed.
Controls for lighting should be switched by zones within the classroom, and zones must be parallel to the
screen. Switches should be located proximate to the instructor area, and at room entrances.
Lecture halls must be designed to provide a learning environment that has good acoustical design,
comfortable seating, good voice amplification, good sight lines, and complex lighting and audio-visual
control. For good acoustics, walls in lecture halls should have a rough texture and not be parallel.
Guidelines for ceiling heights take into consideration video projectors that are ceiling mounted.
• The screen having an aspect ratio of 4:3
• The bottom of the screen should be no lower than 42”.
• The distance from screen to farthest viewer being no more than 4 times the image width
• The distance from screen to first row being no less than 2 times the image width
OPTIMUM CEILING HEIGHTS
Distance to Last Row Rear of the Lecture Hall Front of the Lecture Hall
50 feet 10 feet 17 feet
75 feet 10 feet 22 feet
100 feet 10 feet 28 feet
Source: Allen, et al. Classroom Design Manual
All lecture halls should be completely free of windows except for the vision panels in the doors.
The effect of floor covering, walls, and ceiling on acoustics should be considered. A good acoustical
design will control for external and internal noise. Attention should be given to controlling the noise of
doors and air conditioning. There should be an appropriate plan to control sound reverberation to within
about 30-milli seconds difference between the arrival of source sound and reflected sound (Classroom
Walls should be non parallel, and should have a rough or textured surface. Side walls should be angled
away from the instructor area in a fan-shaped pattern to focus sound toward the audience and the back of
the room. The rear and last third of the side walls should be designed to absorb rather than reflect sound.
The front and front end of side walls should use hard surface materials to focus sound backward.
The ceiling should have a hard surface reflecting sound downward. The floor covering must be factored
into the acoustical design. Rugs in the aisles cushion noise. Upholstered seats also reduce noise.
Podium. The podium should provide access to electrical outlets, voice, video, and data outlets, controls for
lighting, projection, microphone, and media equipment. See Appendix F for the University specifications
for multimedia consoles.
The size and location of the podium are important. It should provide space for an instructor’s material and
should not block the view of the screen or the chalkboard. Provision should be made for the use of an
overhead projector that is close to the podium but at a sufficient distance from the screen to provide an
acceptable image size. See the current specifications for podia in Appendix F.
Student Seating. Whenever possible, continuous fixed tables with attached swing-away chairs should be
used in order to provide students with the maximum work area. While this type seating requires more
square feet per student (approximately 16-20), the larger work area is needed for testing and for the use of
laptop computers. Fixed seating with tablet arms may be used if the tablet arms are at least 11 ½” x 11 ½”.
Consideration must be given to seating for left-handed persons. A general guideline is to provide for
approximately ten percent of left-handed seats that are installed on the left side of the aisle when viewed
from the instructor area.
Seating for persons with mobility impairments should accommodate students in wheelchairs. A table will
be required that is 19 inches deep, 31 inches high (with 29 inches clearance), and 36 inches wide. In the
event that these students may need assistance from another person for hearing or sight impairments, the
location of the special seating should provide for this contingency.
Audio System. The audio system for the lecture hall should have the controls for the microphone and
volume easily accessible to the instructor. A wireless microphone should be installed in the voice
amplification system. The audio system should have a sound system to handle the amplification of films,
audiotape, compact discs, voice from telephone, etc.
Projection Booth. If a projection booth is needed, it should be at least 48 square feet (depending upon the
media required, it may be larger) with a window ledge at least 48 inches above the floor, above the heads of
those seated in the last row of seats by the window. The window must be angled out from the bottom about
five percent to reduce reflection. A hinged shelf should be placed just below the window. Lighting should
not shine into the lecture hall. The door to the booth must be a minimum of 36 inches wide. A door from
the booth into the lecture hall is needed.
Auxiliary Patch Panels. An auxiliary patch panel should be installed for faculty who bring in additional
equipment. See Appendix C.
Projection Screens. The location and size of the screens should reflect the intended use of the room.
Allowance should be made for double projection capability. Screens should be mounted above the
chalkboard so that the bottom of the screen is above the chalkboard when possible.
Projectors. Projection systems capable of projecting both computer video and NTSC video (and eventually
HDTV) will be provided in each lecture hall. The projector will be ceiling mounted, if possible. In all
cases, the projectors must be mounted with either high-security bolts, or with electronic security systems.
Projections systems should be capable of projecting standard NTSC television signals, and computer
signals of up to 1024 X 768 pixels without the need for reconfiguration of the faculty laptop computer.
The current standard for projectors is found in Appendix E.
Controls for lighting must be clustered at both the room entrance and the instructor area. Automatic
lighting systems should have a manual override, and the instructor should have controls at the podium.
There should be separate lighting zones for the instructor area and the seating area including light for a sign
It is important that all lighting fixtures are placed so that they will not interfere with the projection system.
Dimmable Lighting. The lighting plan must allow for students to take notes when projection is being used.
Similarly, the instructor must have light when a projector is being used. The lights should not reflect onto
the projection screen.
A combination of fluorescent and dimmable incandescent lighting provides a satisfactory solution if the
placement of the fixtures allows for easy maintenance.
With the integration of technology into teaching and learning activities, two most common types of
specialized learning spaces—distance learning or interactive video classrooms and computer
labs/classrooms are becoming common. Seminar rooms are not specifically addressed except to
recommend that they be equipped with data/video ports and projection capability.
Interactive Video Classrooms
Telecommunication. The selection and type of distribution systems to be used within and without the
distance education classrooms is key to the scope and complexity of the design. The specific technologies
(compressed, full-motion video, switch 56 teleconferencing, etc.) that are to be utilized by the distance
delivery network must be identified and must be compatible with other systems on campus.
Size of Classroom. These rooms generally require more space (approximately 30-40%) to accommodate
equipment, work space, and camera angles.
Student Seating and Work Space. If equipment such as monitors or microphones are installed at student
stations then 30” x 36” may be needed. High quality movable chairs on castors should also be considered.
Space for peripherals such as FAX machines or recording equipment should be allocated.
Teaching Console and Station. Document cameras, computers, viewing monitors, etc., must be provided.
An adjustable chair or stool should be provided.
Windows. Windows should be avoided in order to simplify the lighting and provide true color in
Lighting. Lighting should be increased by at least 50% over that recommended for general purpose
classrooms. Generally, 80-90 foot candles is the minimum needed in the seating area while 100-300 foot
candles is preferable for the presentation area. Studio broads may be needed to provide facial highlights.
Walls. Neutral blues and grays should be used for wall and camera background surfaces. The visual
surface behind the presentation console should be clean. The room may need higher ceilings to provide
appropriate space for special projection and lighting needs.
Acoustics. Special effort to have the highest quality acoustical design is needed.
Viewing. The degree of eye and head movement by learners should be minimal when moving between
monitors and presenters.
Rear projection should be considered due to camera lighting problems.
The location and mounting height of cameras and student monitors should provide natural viewing images
and eye contact with the other classrooms in the system. The need for special functions such as video
production recording activities, computer image development and presenter work/prep areas should be
Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. The technology may make the room warmer. Attention should
be paid to the installation of air conditioning systems and ducts to insure that there is adequate cooling and
that the cooling system is quiet.
While computer labs and classrooms can have different functions, consideration should be given to designs
that will serve both needs.
Telecommunications. Each computer should be networked, to a local area network, a campus or wide area
network, and to the Internet.
Electrical. The number of circuits should be determined based on the equipment to be housed in the room
plus expansion capacity. An uninterruptable power supply will be need for the server and other equipment.
Wiring/Cable Management. Planning for the outlets and cables should minimize the clutter and provide as
much flexibility in room arrangement as possible.
Seating and Work Space. The work area needs to be comfortable and ergonomically correct.
Approximately 36-48” wide tables are recommended with a height of 29”-31”. Sample configurations
from the Classroom Design Manual follow. Station factors can range from 20-25 up to 35-40 sq. ft. per
person. Consideration for space for servers, storage, and printers must be given.
Teaching Station. The console should include the computer, controls for the data projection system,
lighting, and any A/V equipment installed in the room. Additional capabilities may include a document
camera, a system for displaying the screens of student computers, and a video recording system.
Lighting. Lighting guidelines are the same as for general classrooms. However, consideration of factors
that cause glare of the screens must be given.
Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. The increased heat generated by the computers must be
considered in determining the capacity of the air conditioning system. Noise from all ducts and air velocity
should be minimized. Classroom HVAC systems should not produce room noise in excess of NC – 30.
Acoustics. In a computer lab, a very “dead” space is desirable. This is accomplished by the use of sound
absorbing material throughout. In the computer classroom, communication between the instructor and the
students is important. Therefore, attempts should be made not only to reduce noise, but also to provide
Accessibility. Some stations will need to have adjustable height or provide 31” clearance to accommodate
users in wheel chairs. Printers and other devices should be located low enough for use by people in wheel
chairs. Specialized software should be available for those with visual impairments.
Appendix A: Seating
Seating: 4-leg full-tablet movable chairs for rooms under 100 seats. Fixed tables with swing-out chairs for
lecture halls over 100 seats.
Quadraline Student Desk
Fixed Tables with Swing-out Chairs
Appendix B: Overhead Projector Cart
Appendix C: Patch Panels
1. Multimedia Panel: On wall at front of classroom. Jacks for possible connection of computer
audio and video, television (VCR, document camera, CATV), communications. Control
panel for projector.
Multimedia Patch Panel
2. Electrical Panel: Four 120Volt outlets, widely spaced to accommodate power transformers.
Screen control switch.
Power Patch Panel
Appendix D: TV/VCR Carts
• Adds TV and VCR, on either ceiling mount, wall mount, or tethered cart. 27” TVs should be used for
classrooms under 30, and 32” for classrooms from 30 to 60 seats.
32” TV/VCR Cart (TV bolted to cart)
32” TV/VCR Ceiling Installation
Appendix E: Data/Video Projectors
Projectors: LCD or better technology, 1000 lumens or more, 1024X768 native resolution.
Current models: Sharp 3500s for larger classrooms, NV3s for smaller.
Sharp 3500 LCD Data Projector
Sharp NV3 LCD Data Projector
Appendix F: Podiums
VCR (4-head VHS), Document Camera (at least NTSC quality), PC or Mac Laptop. Other media may
be available by request.
Mobile Multimedia Podium
Current equipment list: Sharp XA-710 VCR, Ken-A-Vision 36” stalk NTSC document camera,
Gateway 9100XL Pentium II 14.4” screen laptop with DVD, Floppy, and Zip drive or Macintosh
Powerbook G3 with DVD and Zip drive.
Appendix G: Computer/Projector/VCR Cart
Projector, LCD or better, 800 lumens or more, 1024X768 native resolution. Computer, PC Laptop, on 25ft.
tether. Zip, CD, and floppy disk capability. VCR. Same models as installed equipment.