school pulse panel

Average public school building is 49 years old, federal survey says

Feb. 19, 2024
The School Pulse Panel from the National Center for Education Statistics collects data on the nation's K-12 facilities.

The average age of a public school building in the United States is 49 years old, the federal government says.

The latest results of the School Pulse Panel from the National Center for Education Statistics also indicate that 31% of the nation's public schools have one or more portable or non-permanent building.

The panel was created to provide information about the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on public elementary and secondary schools. The latest data were gathered in December 2023 from more than 1,600 K-12 schools from every state and Washington, D.C.

The findings show that 20% of the main instructional buildings at schools were constructed since 2000; 21% were constructed between 1970 and 1999; and 38% were constructed before 1970. (Between 20% and 22% answered "don't know" to questions about the age of their main instructional building.)

Otther facilities-related findings:

  • 47% said their main instructional building had undergone a major renovation since being built.
  • 46% said their school had a major building replacement or addition since being built.
  • 21% said in December 2023 that major repair or renovation was being carried out at their schools.
  • 89% said their schools have dedicated library space. For schools with 500 to 999 students, the percentage rose to 96%; for schools with 299 or fewer students, the percentage dropped to 77%.
  • 93% said their schools had some kind of on-site athletic amenities; 69% said their schools had a gymnasium; 68% said their schools had an all-purpose grass field.


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