Classroom Acoustics - New Standards!

Since school boards and college building committees often feel that they don't have hard evidence to insist that the design team meet certain acoustic standards in classrooms, often the lowest-initial-building-cost becomes the rule. the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) says in a recent press release, a sizable minority of students in the United States may have mild-to-moderate hearing, learning, or attention deficits, suffer frequent ear infections, have limited English language skills, or may otherwise suffer in a sub-standard acoustical classroom environment.

Parents of such students will welcome this ANSI standard to bring to board meetings to discuss classroom accommodations under IDEA (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) .

With the new American National Standard Acoustic Performance Criteria, Design requirements, and Guidelines for Schools (ANSI S12.60-2002), school boards and building committees may now be proactive by requiring compliance with the ANSI standard as part of their construction documents... thus making the design team responsible for addressing the issues and avoiding future litigation.

Since 1997, the people who frame ADA standards have been studying the problem with a dozen different groups involved with classroom acoustics and HVAC design, deciding how to provide the best possible conditions for students to hear and understand.
It's been a long time coming, but here's the bottom line... A coherent standard for making classrooms good acoustical learning places is now available.

For the full background to the standard click here

The standard is available for $35 on the ASA web site.

Have a question about classroom design, or a good idea? E-mail: is listed by the National Clearing House for Educational Facilities (NCEF)

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