Academic Space Management

Classroom Design Standards

Suggested design guidelines for classroom renovation and design.


  • • Eggshell finish, washable paint. The approved standard colors are:
    •   Side and rear walls: "Suntan Yellow" #2155-50 by Benjamin Moore Paints or Committee approved equal.
        Front wall: "Buxton Blue" #HC-149 by Benjamin Moore Paints or Committee approved equal.
  • • Chair rails shall be installed around the perimeter of the seating area to avoid damage to the walls. The chair rail installation height is dependent on the type of seating installed in the classroom.
  • • Glass Marker boards should be installed in the front and side walls of the classroom if possible, in modules of 4'x8' since multiple boards may be necessary for wide classrooms and break out groups. The standard glass marker board is Quartet Infinity frameless glass boards 4' high x 8' wide with tempered glass, the color shall be Frost.
  • All walls should extend from the floor to the underside of the slab above and be properly insulated to avoid sound transmission to and from adjacent spaces. Sound transmission prevention shall also be provided in mechanical and infrastructure systems.
  • Other wall mounted items such as switches, control plates, speakers etc., should be installed to optimize the open wall space for glass board installations on as many wall as possible.
  • Bulletin boards are not allowed unless they are specifically requested to meet academic program requirements.


  • Typical floor covering shall be carpet tiles or Committee approved recyclale carpet tile with recycled content or Committee approved equal.
  • Typical floor base shall be 4" vinyl cove floor base.
  • Classrooms with exterior doors shall have a minimum 6'x6' area with carpet tile entrance mat material to avoid damage from water intrusion or have an area of vinyl composition floor tiles (6'x6') at the entrance of the door to avoid damage from wind driven rain and dirt.


  • Whenever possible, classrooms shall have windows.
  • All windows should have easily accessible window treatments to control lighting for presentations.
  • Large rooms with a large number of windows or those difficult to access should be motorized and controlled from the instructor's podium.
  • Vertical PVC blinds (2" minimum width) commercial grade, loose at the bottom, are recommended in a solid color that is coordinated with the buildings overall color scheme and with the exterior fenestrations to enhance the appearance of the building from the outside.


  • Ceiling tiles should 2' x 2' acoustical tiles, standardized throughout the university (see Facilities Management Dept.) and with sufficient edge width and depth as to avoid warping or buckling from exposure to minor levels of moisture.


  • Recessed light fixtures to reduce glare. See also Media Standards section for additional information.
  • Light bulb type and color should be standardized throughout to avoid bulb color variation within the same space. Also see the latest edition of the FIU Building Standards available through the Facilities Management Department.
  • Lights shall have motion sensor controls for energy efficiency.
  • There shall be 2 lighting zones, controlled from the instructor's podium area. One zone over the student area that can allow note taking during media presentations and the second zone in the front to the room that can be darkened for presentation.
  • The instructor's podium shall also have task lighting for the instructor to operate the media during presentations.
  • The lights shall not reflect onto the projection screen.


  • Entrance doors shall be located in the back of the classroom to minimize interruptions by student entering the classroom late or leaving early.
  • The hardware used should muffle sound when opening and closing.
  • Doors should have a narrow vision panel that can allow visibility into the room without the need to disrupt the class.
  • Doors shall have electronic locks with a card reader system capable of being programmed with door opening/closing schedules. FIU has a standardized locking system, see Facilities Management for more information.
  • Wall mounted door stops to avoid wall damage


  • Each classroom should have one telephone that connects directly to Public Safety and Media Support Staff. The telephone shall be as close as possible to the corner nearest the instructor's podium.
  • Include speakers in public areas for emergency notifications
  • Room signage inside classrooms and large lecture halls shall include: Room layout (so that custodial services can arrange the room properly), Emergency contact phone numbers (may be on automatic dial-up), Emergency Procedures, Special postings, Evacuation Routes


  • For rooms requiring tablet arm chairs they shall be: VIRCO Inc., style "Sage", model SG418TAFBR, with bucket seat in color "Navy" BLU51, frame in Silver Mist GRY02, and particle-core high pressure laminate work surface color Fusion Maple MPL 385(available through State of Florida purchasing contract).
    For rooms requiring mobile tablet arm chairs such as active learning classrooms the tablet arm chair shall be: Steelcase Inc., “NODE” tablet arm chair, Tripod Base, Personal Work Surface, Base :6249 Platinum Solid, PAINT :4799 Platinum Metallic, SHELL :6336 Jazz, SURFACE :6249 Platinum Solid, Hard Casters.
  • For rooms requiring tables for wheelchairs users (ADA table): Virco Activity Table 4000 Series, 30"d x 36"w x 22-32" height adjustable tubular legs, "Fusion Maple" top and "Silver Mist “ frame. A single separate chair shall be provided by the ADA table so non-wheel chair users may use it as well. The chair shall be: style "Sage", model SG418, with bucket seat in color "Navy" BLU51, frame in Silver Mist GRY02 (to match the tablet arm chairs). Chair and table for disabled users shall be clearly marked with a decal so that it does not get removed from the room or if found outside can be replaced back into the room.
  • Instructor's chair shall be: VIRCO, Inc., style "Sage", model SGLAB with adjustable seat height from 19 1/2 to 27", with bucket seat in color "Navy" BLU51, with five dual-wheeled caster base in black BLK01 finish (available through State of Florida purchasing contract).
  • Movable tables and chairs (seminar style) shall provide a 30" wide x 20" deep space per student. The chairs shall be comfortable, durable and whenever possible stackable for ease in cleaning and storage. Tables shall have a modesty panel on the front. Whenever possible the tables shall be provided with electrical outlets for student lap top computers.
  • Fixed tables shall provide a 30" wide x 20" deep space per student with a modesty panel on front and electrical outlets for student lap top computers.
  • Fixed tables may be provided with fixed or loose chairs as required by the program. All chairs shall be comfortable and durable. If the chairs are loose, they should be stackable for ease of cleaning and storage.

Instructor's table

  • A small instructor's table should be provided in every room in addition to the podium, to be used by the instructor for special presentation of materials. Rooms with a capacity of 100 or more shall be provided with two tables whenever possible.
  • Instructor's table shall be: VIRCO, Inc., style "Plateau" model PT246029, 60" wide x 24" deep, laminate top "Fusion Maple" MPL 385, frame finish "Silver Mist" GRY02 (available through State of Florida purchasing contract).


  • Shall not be installed where they interfere with the sight lines to the front of the room and media equipment.

Additional Recommendations

  • Outlets for students' laptops shall be provided whenever possible both inside the classroom as well as outside areas where students may gather for studying.
  • Wireless access to the Internet shall be provided throughout all buildings, including open areas outside the building where students may gather for studying.
  • Wide rooms should have double projectors for better visibility (see Media Standards).
  • Express the GREEN MISSION of the university by emphasizing and/or encouraging day lighting, energy efficient bulbs, water conservation, thermal comfort and control, joint use of facilities, flexibility of facilities, the use of recycled products, mold prevention (paperless wallboard for example), encourage alternative transportation (more bicycle racks for example), separation/isolation of areas within a building that can be slowed down or put into an energy conservation mode during breaks and down times, outdoor lighting designed to avoid light pollution.
  • Encourage team spaces, cyber cafes and/or alcoves throughout the building for group interaction.
  • Provide quiet study spaces or alcoves throughout the building for individual study. These spaces shall have electrical outlets and wireless access to the Internet.
  • Include attractive and secure areas for vending machines, conveniently accessible during off hours.
  • FIU logo and/or other university signage, visible at the front of the room, shall be provided in all instructional spaces to promote school spirit and university identification.

CLICK HERE for the Classroom Design Standards Committee Charter.