How to Plan and Design Child Care Centers

Between infancy and school age, a child may spend up to 12,500 hours in a child care facility. Because children spend such long hours in child care centers, facilities located in GSA-managed spaces must meet special design requirements that exceed base guidelines for federal buildings.

To provide specific guidelines for creating spaces that are functional child-oriented spaces that promote a child’s health, development and creativity, GSA has published the GSA Child Care Center Design Guide.  Visit the Child Care Library for a copy.

The guide contains criteria for planning and designing child care centers in GSA-owned or controlled spaces. It is intended for use in developing future centers and expanding or renovating existing ones. It aims not only to specify design criteria but also to explain the rationale for the criteria in order to enhance professional judgment.

People who will use this guide:

  • Architects and engineers who will provide building and design services for child care centers in GSA-managed spaces
  • GSA Regional Child Care Coordinators to interpret the level and type of features and finishes to be provided in centers.
  • GSA Property Managers to maintain all centers and improve existing ones to meet the benchmarks set in the Guide.
  • GSA managers for guidance in repair and replacement of existing conditions and equipment.
  • GSA Real Estate Specialists when developing Requests for Proposals (RFP) and Solicitation for Offers (SFO) for the procurement of child care center space.
  • Federal agencies planning to contract with private sector architectural firms to establish new centers or renovate existing ones.
Last Reviewed 2016-02-03