The SDA’s Model Schools Program strives to balance the benefits of standardization with the recognition that each SDA school district and project are unique. The purpose of SDA’s Model Schools Program is to:

  • Provide for greater consistency in school facility projects within and across all SDA districts while responding to varying site conditions and educational program requirements.
  • Provide quality educational facilities more cost effectively.
  • Reduce the time and expense required for design of SDA school facilities.
  • Serve as a foundation for higher levels of design standardization.

When possible and appropriate the SDA’s standards include options which allow for and are supportive of specific school district educational program requirements as well as the varying physical, cultural, and social context of each project.


Working with the NJDOE, the SDA has developed a series of prototypical Model Programs which define the typical number, type, and size of spaces required for school facilities of varying sizes and grade alignments.

SDA model programs serve as a starting point in the development of target space programs for school facility projects. Each model program includes area allowances for small group instruction and educational and administrative support facilities and options that allow the program to be customized to better satisfy the unique educational program needs of each SDA school district.

The SDA has successfully utilized its model programs to develop over 25 unique target space programs.

SDA Model Programs

Model educational specifications are utilized for all SDA in-house design projects. Model educational specifications are utilized during programming with SDA school districts to elicit input on specific educational program needs both in general and on a room-by-room basis.

Model room layouts for typical spaces, such as general classrooms, provide SDA school districts with a number of options for furniture and technology fit-out in typical program spaces.

In 2017, SDA implemented the use of standardized furniture and technology blocks in its room layouts, which allow for automation of room area calculations required by NJDOE. This has resulted in speedier generation and revisions to room fit-out lists and ensures consistency between the fit-out list and room layout without time consuming manual checking and coordination

The SDA has implemented a “Kit of Parts” approach to conceptual design, which allows for quicker development and evaluation of alternative arrangements of the educational program on the project site during the Program-Concept Phase of in-house design. The Kit of Parts prototype is comprised of the following standardized component elements:

  • Instructional Component - Classrooms, Science Classrooms/Labs, and Instructional & Administrative Support Areas
  • Large Group Component –Specialized Instructional Areas (Art, Music, Technology), Physical Education, Dining, and Assembly Areas (Includes Cafetorium or Multi-Purpose Options)
  • Core Component – Main Office, Nurse, Student Services, and Media Center
  • Pre-Kindergarten Component – Pre-Kindergarten Classrooms and Support

Application of the Kit of Parts approach has allowed for a variety of plan arrangements, based upon differing site sizes and configurations, while maintaining a high degree of consistency in program components.