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College & University Chapels

“The Parthenon” | Frederic Edwin Church (1871)


“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” 
― Aristotle


The founding of many educational institutions throughout the world was inspired by faith communities.   In many of them the place of worship was the very first building.   College and university chapels are central places of worship for students, staff and faculty, and provide a space for solitude and reflection.

There are several hundred technical standards, or parts of standards,  that govern how churches and chapels are made safe and sustainable.  Owing to innovations in construction, operation and management methods, those standards move, ever so slightly, on a near-daily basis and they are highly networked.  That movement tracked here as best we can within the limit of our resources.  (We manage a comprehensive catalog of school, college and university design guidelines and construction contracts for this facility class and all others.)

They are beautiful places.

The image criteria of our WordPress theme does not permit many images of college and university chapels to be shown fully-dimensioned on sliders or widget galleries.  We reproduce a few of the outsized images here and leave the complexities of financing, designing, building and maintaining of them in a safe and sustainable manner for another day.  There is a link at the bottom of this page — if you can find the bottom of it – that may prove enlightening to our colleagues interested in technical and management specifics.

Click on any image for author attribution, photo credit or other information.


University of the Incarnate Word / San Antonio, Texas

Lourdes University / Ohio

Luther College at the University of Regina / Saskatchewan, Canada

Yale University

계명대학교 / Keimyung University Chapel, South Korea

U.S. Coast Guard Memorial Chapel | New London, Connecticut

Saint John’s University | Photo by Paul Middlestaedt

Trinity College / Hartford, Connecticut

Georgetown University Chapel | Washington, D.C.

Kings College Chapel | Auckland, New Zealand

Brigham Young University / Idaho


Newman University Church / Dublin

Our Lady of the Lake University / San Antonio, Texas

Southern Methodist University | Dallas, Texas

Southern Methodist University | Dallas, Texas

St. John’s College Oxford


United States Naval Academy Chapel

Wellington College Chapel


Fitzwilliam College Chapel Cambridge


Sorbonne Université

West Point | US Army Cadet Chapel

Hebrew Union College

Tuskegee University Chapel


The Spring Hill College Chapel | Mobile, Alabama


Boston University

University of Tennessee at Chattangooga

Wake Forest University

Auburn University Chapel


Davis & Elkins College


University of Tulsa

Randolph College Chapel


Sewanee | The University of the South


King’s College Chapel | University of Cambridge

Hope College | Holland, Michigan

Duke University | Durham, North Carolina

Christ’s Chapel | Hillsdale College, Michigan

Basilica of the Sacred Heart | University of Notre Dame | South Bend, Indiana

Three Faith Chapels | Brandeis University

University of Wroclaw | Jesuit College | Wrocław, Poland

Alma College Chapel | Alma, Michigan

Stanford Memorial Church | Palo Alto, California

Universidad Adventista Templo | Buenos Aires, Argentina

St. Thomas of Villanova University Chapel | Villanova, Pennsylvania

St. Paul’s Chapel | Columbia University | New York City

Scotch College Chapel | Melbourne, Australia

Princeton University Chapel

United States Air Force Cadet Chapel | Colorado Springs

Chapelle Sainte-Ursule de la Sorbonne | Paris

Memorial Chapel | Glasgow University | Glasgow, Scotland

Alice Millar Chapel | Northwestern University

Bowdoin College Chapel | Brunswick, Maine

Loyola University Chapel | Madonna della Strada Chicago

Heinz Memorial Chapel | University of Pittsburgh


Madonna University Chapel | Livonia, Michigan

Vassar College Chapel | Poughkeepsie, New York

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Student Chapel | Cambridge, Massachusetts


St. Ignatius Church | University of San Francisco

Church of the Resurrection | Valparaiso University | Valparaiso, Indiana

Baughman Center | University of Florida

Exeter College Chapel | Oxford University


More coming.

LEARN MORE: (CLICK HERE to access bibliography)




Places of Worship

Christ Chapel / Hillsdale College

In the International Code Council suite of consensus products, incorporated by reference into public safety legislation, and set the standard of care for building safety and sustainability, we find design requirements for places of worship tracking in the following sections of the International Building Code (IBC):

Section 303 Assembly Group A

“303.1.4:  Accessory religious educational rooms and religious auditoriums with occupant loads less than 100 per room or space are not considered separate occupancies.”   This informs how fire protection systems are designed.

Section 305 Educational Group E

“305.2.1: Rooms and spaces within places of worship proving such day care during religious functions shall be classified as part of the primary occupancy.”  This group includes building and structures or portions thereof occupied by more than five children older than 2-1/2 years of age who receive educational, supervision or personal care services for fewer than 24 hours per day.

Section 308 Institutional Group I

“308.5.2: Rooms and spaces within places of religious worship providing [Group I-4 Day Care Facilities] during religious functions shall be classified as part of the primary occupancy.   When [Group I-4 Day Care Facilities] includes buildings and structures occupied by more than five persons of any age who receive custodial care for fewer than 24 hours per day by persons other than parents or guardians, relatives by blood, marriage or adoption, and in a place other than the home of the person cared for.

Tricky stuff — and we haven’t even included conditions under which university-affiliated places of worship may expected to be used as community storm shelters.

The complete monograph of proposals for new building safety concepts for places of worship for the present Group B cycle are linked below (2919 pages):


A simple search on the word “worship” will reveal what ideas are in play.  With the Group B Public Comment Hearings now complete ICC administered committees are now curating the results for final balloting before publication of the 2021 Group B I-Codes.   Status reports are linked below:

2018/2019 Code Development: Group B

As always, we are happy to get down in the weeds with education facility managers any day at 11 AM Eastern time.  We also set aside at least one hour per month to I-Codes for Education Facilities.  See our CALENDAR for the next online meeting; open to everyone.

Issue: [Various]

Category: Chapels

Colleagues: Mike Anthony, Jack Janveja, Richard Robben, Larry Spielvogel



Cambridge Center for Smart Infrastructure & Construction

“Clare Hall and King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, from the Banks of the River Cam” / Joseph Mallord William Turner (1793)


Smart Infrastructure: Getting More From Strategic Assets

Dr Jennifer Schooling, Director of CSIC;

Dr Ajith Parlikad, CSIC Co-Investigator and Senior Lecturer;

Mark Enzer, Global Water Sector Leader,

Mott MacDonald; Keith Bowers, Principal Tunnel Engineer, London Underground;

Ross Dentten, Asset Information and Configuration Manager, Crossrail;

Matt Edwards, Asset Maintenance and Information Manager, Anglian Water Services;

Jerry England, Group Digital Railway Director, Network Rail;

Volker Buscher, Director, Arup Digital.


Smart Infrastructure is a global opportunity worth £2trn-4.8trn. The world is experiencing a fourth industrial revolution due to the rapid development of technologies and digital abundance.

Smart Infrastructure involves applying this to economic infrastructure for the benefit of all stakeholders. It will allow owners and operators to get more out of what they already have, increasing capacity, efficiency and resilience and improving services.

It brings better performance at lower cost. Gaining more from existing assets is the key to enhancing service provision despite constrained finance and growing resource scarcity. It will often be more cost-effective to add to the overall value of mature infrastructure via digital enhancements than by physical enhancements – physical enhancements add `more of the same’, whereas digital enhancements can transform the existing as well.

Smart Infrastructure will shape a better future. Greater understanding of the performance of our infrastructure will allow new infrastructure to be designed and delivered more efficiently and to provide better wholelife value.

Data is the key – the ownership of it and the ability to understand and act on it. Industry, organisations and professionals need to be ready to adjust in order to take advantage of the emerging opportunities. Early adopters stand to gain the most benefit. Everyone in the infrastructure sector has a choice as to how fast they respond to the changes that Smart Infrastructure will bring. But everyone will be affected.

Change is inevitable. Progress is optional. Now is the time for the infrastructure industry to choose: to be Smart.



Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction

Perspective: Since this paper is general in its recommendations, we provide examples of specific campus infrastructure data points that are difficult, if not impossible, to identify and “make smart” — either willfully, for lack of funding, for lack of consensus, for lack of understanding or leadership:

    1. Maintenance of the digital location of fire dampers in legacy buildings or even new buildings mapped with BIM.  Doors and ceiling plenums are continually being modified and the As-Built information is usually not accurate.  This leads to fire hazard and complicates air flow and assuring occupant temperature preferences (i.e. uncontrollable hot and cold spots) 
    2. Ampere readings of feeder breakers downstream from the electric service main.  The power chain between the service substation and the end-use equipment is a “no-man’s land” in research facilities that everyone wants to meter but few ever recover the cost of the additional metering.
    3. Optimal air flow rates in hospitals and commercial kitchens that satisfies both environmental air hazards and compartmentalized air pressure zones for fire safety.
    4. Identification of students, staff and faculty directly affiliated with the campus versus visitors to the campus.
    5. Standpipe pressure variations in municipal water systems
    6. Pinch points in municipal sewer systems in order to avoid building flooding.
    7. How much of university data center cost should be a shared (gateway) cost, and how much should be charged to individual academic and business units?
    8. Should “net-zero” energy buildings be charged for power generated at the university central heating and electric generation plant?
    9. How much staff parking should be allocated to academic faculty versus staff that supports the healthcare delivery enterprises; which in many cases provides more revenue to the university than the academic units?
    10. Finally, a classical conundrum in facility management spreadsheets: Can we distinguish between maintenance cost (which should be covered under an O&M budget) and capital improvement cost (which can be financed by investors)


Design Standard Readability

Fry readability formula

How Consistent Are the Best-Known Readability Equations in Estimating the Readability of Design Standards?

Shixiang Zhou & Heejin Jeong
Industrial and Operations Engineering Department, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
Transportation Research Institute Driver Interface Group
Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA


Abstract.  Research problem: Readability equations are widely used to compute how well readers will be able to understand written materials. Those equations were usually developed for nontechnical materials, namely, textbooks for elementary, middle, and high schools. This study examines to what extent computerized readability predictions are consistent for highly technical material – selected Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and International Standards Organization (ISO) Recommended Practices and Standards relating to driver interfaces. Literature review: A review of original sources of readability equations revealed a lack of specific criteria in counting various punctuation and text elements, leading to inconsistent readability scores. Few studies on the reliability of readability equations have identified this problem, and even fewer have systematically investigated the extent of the problem and the reasons why it occurs.  Research questions:

(1) Do the most commonly used equations give identical readability scores?
(2) How do the scores for each readability equation vary with readability tools?
(3) If there are differences between readability tools, why do they occur?
(4) How does the score vary with the length of passage examined?

Method: Passages of varying lengths from 12 selected SAE and ISO Recommended Practices and Standards were examined using five readability equations (Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level, Gunning Fog Index, SMOG Index, Coleman-Liau Index, and Automated Readability Index) implemented five ways (four online readability tools and Microsoft Word 2013 for Windows). In addition, short test passages of text were used to understand how different readability tools counted text elements, such as words and sentences. Results and conclusions: The mean readability scores of the passages from those 12 SAE and ISO Recommended Practices and Standards ranged from the 10th grade reading level to about 15th. The mean grade reading levels computed across the websites were: Flesch-Kincaid 12.8, Gunning Fog 15.1 SMOG 12.6, Coleman-Liau 13.7, and Automated Readability Index 12.3. Readability score estimates became more consistent as the length of the passage examined increased, with no noteworthy improvements beyond 900 words. Among the five readability tools, scores typically differed by two grade levels, but the scores should have been the same. These differences were due to how compound and hyphenated words, slashes, numbers, abbreviations and acronyms, and URLs were counted, as well other punctuation and text elements. These differences occurred because the sources for these equations often did not specify how to score various punctuation and text elements. Of the tools examined, the authors recommend Microsoft Word 2013 for Windows if the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level is required.



Public Procurement & Private Certification

“View of Boston Harbor from Dorchester Height” | Thomas Doughty (1843) | Yale University Art Gallery

In formulating a response to the expansion of the scope of ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1-2016 — Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings well beyond the building envelope onto entire building sites — such as entire campuses — we revisit recent, relevant research into the effect of market-making by accredited standards developers.  Our interest lies in the degree to which their action contributes to the safety and sustainability agenda of the $300 billion education facility industry in the United States.

One of the most enlightening discussions of sustainability-related certification programs is provided by Tim Simcoe at the Questrom School of Business.    From the research abstract:

“Governments increasingly use their purchasing power to promote environmental policy objectives. We study the relationship between public municipal green-building procurement policies and diffusion of the US Green Building Council’s LEED certification program. We find a strong link between public green building procurement plans and voluntary private adoption of the LEED standard. We also observe an increase in LEED professional accreditation in communities that adopt a green procurement policy. We suggest that public policy may spur private certification by resolving the coordination problem that arises among developers and local building professionals in the diffusion of a new certification program”





Lacrosse Field Lighting

Best Lighting Practices: Lacrosse Standard Intercollegiate Play


After athletic arena life safety obligations are met (governed legally by NFPA 70, NFPA 101, NFPA 110,  the International Building Code and possibly other state adaptations of those consensus documents incorporated by reference into public safety law) business objective standards come into play.   The illumination of the competitive venue itself figures heavily into the quality of digital media visual experience and value.

For almost all athletic facilities,  the consensus documents of the Illumination Engineering Society[1], the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers[2][3] provide the first principles for life safety.  For business purposes, the documents distributed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association inform the standard of care for individual athletic arenas so that swiftly moving media production companies have some consistency in power sources and illumination as they move from site to site.  Sometimes concepts to meet both life safety and business objectives merge.

The NCAA is not a consensus standard developer but it does have a suite of recommended practice documents for lighting the venues for typical competition and competition that is televised.

NCAA Best Lighting Practices

 It welcomes feedback from subject matter experts and front line facility managers.

Our own monthly walk-through of athletic and recreation facility codes and standards workgroup meets monthly.  See our CALENDAR for the next online Athletics & Recreation facilities; open to everyone.

University of Florida

Issue: [15-138]*

Category: Electrical, Architectural, Arts & Entertainment Facilities, Athletics

Colleagues: Mike Anthony, Jim Harvey, Jack Janveja

[1] Illumination Engineering Handbook

[2] IEEE 3001.9 Recommended Practice for Design of Power Systems for Supplying Lighting Systems for Commercial & Industrial Facilities

[3] IEEE 3006.1 Power System Reliability



* Issue numbering before 2016 dates back to the original University of Michigan codes and standards advocacy enterprise 

Sports, Recreational Facilities & Equipment

“Children’s Games” | Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1560)

Recreational sports, athletic competition, and the facilities that support it, are one of the most visible activities in any school, college or university in any nation.   They have the same ambition for safety and sustainability at the same scale as the academic and healthcare enterprises.   According to IBISWorld Market Research, Sports Stadium Construction was a $6.1 billion market in 2014, Athletic & Sporting Goods Manufacturing was a $9.2 billion market in 2015, with participation in sports increasing 19.3 percent by 2019 — much of that originating in school, college and university sports and recreation programs.

Accordingly, we follow standards action in the sports, recreational facilities and equipment standards suites developed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the American Society of Testing Materials, and the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE).   There are about twenty core accredited consensus document developers that set the standard of care design, construction operation and maintenance of building occupancies  of this nature.

Sport, being a universal and unifying activity for the education sector in all nations, we also follow developments in the International Standards Organization’s  ISO/TC 83: Sports and other recreational facilities and equipment; a standard suite with the German Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN) as the global Secretariat and the American National Standards Institute as the US Technical Advisory Group. The full sweep of ANSI’s participation in consensus documents developed by the ISO is described in the link below:

ISO Programs – Overview

From the ISO TC/83 prospectus:

BUSINESS PLAN | ISO/TC 83 Sports and recreational equipment | EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

At the moment ISO TC/83 is focused on equipment — i.e. certifiable safety products — not building enclosures, occupant safety and related technologies for participation and enjoyment.  Colleges and universities who want to offer their sports management or international studies students a front row seat on the technology and management of sport may want to participate in  ISO/TC/83 business.  To start, organizations within the United States may communicate directly with ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA 19428-2959, Phone: (610) 832-9804.   Contact: Joe Khoury (jkoury@astm.org).

Standards Michigan also devotes an hour every month to review public commenting opportunities on all international standards.  See our CALENDAR for the next online teleconference on Athletic & Recreation standards.

Issue: [19-46]

Category: Athletics and Recreation, International,

Contact: Mike Anthony, Jack Janveja, Christine Fischer



Audio/video, information & communication technology

Performance in the Bolshoi Theatre / Theateraufführung im Moskauer Bolschoi-Theater (Chromolithographie) | CLICK ON IMAGE

Massive open online curriculum (MOOC), growth in consumer demand for “content” and the expansion of college and universities cultural and entertainment activity. we have long since found it is wise to keep pace with the technologies that make it possible to produce and deliver the content from facilities that are safe and sustainable.  Ultimately there is a point of orgina for all content.

As covered in previous posts, there are about 20 accredited standards developers that claim some part of this space, or expanding their charter to meet the demand for standards (to capture the teaching and accreditation revenue associated with being an accredited standards developer).

The parent committee of the highest level of electrotechnology standardization in the world is International Electrotechnical Commission Technical Committee TC 108: Safety of electronic equipment within the field of audio/video, information technology and communication technology. We see related issues running through the work of ISO Technical Committee 36 Cinematography (CLICK HERE for our previous coverage).

To paraphrase the IEC TC 108 Committee Scope Statement:

Horizontal safety function: Methods of measuring touch current and protective conductor current.  This includes, for various types of equipment, methods of measurement of touch current with regard to physiological effects and of protective conductor current for installation purposes. The methods of measurement consider both normal conditions and certain fault conditions.  Safety of equipment electrically connected to a telecommunication network

Group safety function:Audio, video and similar electronic apparatus – Safety requirements Audio/video, information and communication technology equipment and safety of remote power feeding.

Vancouver Film School

According to the Strategic Business Plan, the need for standardization in this technology shows up in unexpected places such as 3-dimensional printing and wearable smart devices; both of which are of interest to faculty, students and the staff that supports the physical infrastructure.


The home page for the IEC public commenting facility is linked below:


While Standards Michigan is a member of ANSI’s US National Committee to the International Electrotechnical Commission (USNA/IEC) we generally refer action in global electrotechnology standards to the IEEE Education and Healthcare Facilities Committee where expertise resides in many nations.   We also track and participate in the standards action of several trade associations that service some part of this space; all of whom are sensitive to the international electrotechnology standards action.

As of this posting there are no Committee Draft Vote (CDV) documents released by TC 108 seeking public comment.

It it wise to keep pace with this and other IEC technical committees for all the reasons listed above; however.  We always encourage subject matter experts with front line experience planning, designing building, operating and maintaining these growing and complicated spaces.  We recommend US-based experts contact Tony Zertuche, Director, International Policy and General Secretary, USNC/IEC (tzertuche@ansi.org).  Also Ms. Kendall Szulewski-Francis, USNC Program Administrator, is a reliable resource (ksfrancis@ansi.org).

We walk through the status of all international standards once per month but happy to discuss any topic every day at 11 AM Eastern time.   See our CALENDAR for the next online teleconference devoted to international standards; open to everyone.  The IEEE Education & Healthcare Facilities Committee meets online every other Tuesday in both Central European time American time zones.   Its meeting dates and login credentials are available on its home page.

Issue: [Various]

Category: Electrical, Telecommunications, Information Communications & Technology, #SmartCampus, International

Colleagues: Mike Anthony, Jim Harvey, Giuseppe Parise

Media production audio visual




Sports Equipment, Playing Surfaces & Facilities

“The National Game” (1889) / Arthur Streeton



Sport is the bloom and glow of a perfect health.



Athletic programs, facilities and equipment support one of the most visible and emotionally engaging enterprises in the education industry.  In many cases, athletic programs are central to the brand identity of the state and host community.  Last, but not least, physical activity keeps our young people healthy in body and mind.

ASTM International is one of the first names among the 250-odd ANSI accredited consensus document developers whose due processes discover and promulgate the standard of care for the design, construction, operations and maintenance of the facilities that support these enterprises.   There are many ASTM standards that set the standard of care in these enterprises and the accessories to these enterprises.  To identify a few:

ASTM 1487-17 Standard Consumer Safety Performance Specification for Playground Equipment for Public Use

ASTM F1774  Standard Specification for Climbing and Mountaineering Carabiners

ASTM F2060-00(2011) Standard Guide for Maintaining Cool Season Turfgrasses on Athletic Fields

ASTM F1703-13 Standard Guide for Skating and Ice Hockey Playing Facilities

ASTM F1953-10 Standard Guide for Construction and Maintenance of Grass Tennis Courts

ASTM F1081-09(2015) Standard Specification for Competition Wrestling Mats

ASTM F2950-14 Standard Safety and Performance Specification for Soccer Goals

ASTM F2461-16e1 Standard Practice for Manufacture, Construction, Operation, and Maintenance of Aquatic Play Equipment

Many of these documents set the standard of care for specification, construction, operating and maintenance and have the practical effect of enforceable public safety law.  When the General Requirements of an athletic facility construction project indicates: “Conform to all applicable standards” then, in the case of an athletic facility, the ASTM consensus document is likely the document that defines leading practice in most dimensions of athletic facility enterprise operation.

At the international level, we follow standards action of International Organization for Standardization ISO/TC 83 Sports and other recreational facilities and equipment for which Deutsches Institut für Normung e.V. is the global Secretariat and ASTM International is the US Technical Advisory Group.

University of Maine

The ASTM standards development process depends heavily on face-to-face meetings — typically two times per year – in different parts of the United States.   The benefit of this arrangement lies in the quality of discussion among subject matter experts that results produced from face-to-face discussion.  The price to pay for this quality, however, lies in the cost of attendance for the user-interest in the education industry.   Relatively few subject matter experts directly employed by a school district, college or university who are charged with lowering #TotalCostofOwnership can attend the meetings.   Many of the subject matter experts who are in attendance at the ASTM meetings from the education industry tend to be faculty who are retained by manufacturers, insurance, testing laboratories, conformity and compliance interests.  (See our discussion of Incumbent Interests)

That much said, ASTM welcomes subject matter experts on its technical committees (Click here)  We encourage participation by end users from the education industry — many of them in the middle of athletic facility management organization charts.  ASTM Committee F08 on Sports Equipment, Playing Surfaces and Facilities meets twice a year; after which we usually find public review redlines developed during those meetings to hit our radar.  The link to the schedule of face-to-face meetings appears below:

F08 Meetings

Note that the parent F08 committee for sports equipment met last week and will meet again next May in Boston.

We are required to review draft ASTM consensus products with some care — owing to copyright restrictions — so we do it interactively online.  See our CALENDAR for our next breakout teleconference on Athletic & Recreation standards.

Issue: [Various]

Category: Athletics, Facility Asset Management, Public Safety. Risk Management

Contact: Mike Anthony, Jack Janveja, George Reiher, Richard Robben




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