DO 19, s. 1994 – Guidelines on the Acquisition, Construction and Maintenance of Public Elementary and Secondary School Sites, Buildings and Grounds

March 21, 1994
DO 19, s. 1994
Guidelines on the Acquisition, Construction and Maintenance of Public Elementary and Secondary School Sites, Buildings and Grounds

To: Regional Directors and Division Superintendents

  1. Statement of policy. It is desirable to compile those changes in policies concerning the acquisition, construction, and maintenance of public school buildings, for the guidance of all concerned. These changes include such diverse items as site acquisition, norms of layout and construction of public school buildings. Effective immediately and with particular reference to preparations of public elementary and secondary schools for the forthcoming school year, the following policies and procedures should be observed.A. LAND ACQUISITION
  2. Avoidance of purchase of school sites. It has become extremely expensive for DECS to purchase elementary and secondary public school sites, whether as additional adjoining space for existing schools or for new schools, considering the alternative uses that can be made of the capital funds involved. This is especially true in the case of urban areas.
    Henceforth, DECS will no longer use its own funds to purchase school sites or properties. Local governments will be encouraged to provide such sites, whether for new schools or as additions to existing schools. DECS will be more inclined to fund building construction and provide the necessary teachers.
  3. Acquisition of school sites. In acquiring new school sites, DECS would of course prefer that the donation of land to DECS be absolute in character. On the other hand, DECS encourages the use of the Contract of Usufruct of school sites from either local governments or private parties. A Contract of Usufruct is here defined as one in which DECS will have lull use of the property for free without any payment for as long as the property is used for educational purposes. The contract of Usufruct shall be registered with the Register of Deeds and annotated in the title of the owner of the property. In addition, it is possible for the donated school site to be named after the deceased forebears of the donor, if that is so desired.
    Henceforth, absolute donations and Contract of Usufruct will be encouraged as a means of acquiring needed school sites. A sample absolute donation form is attached as Annex “A”, and a Contract of Usufruct, as Annex “B”.B. CONSTRUCTION
  4. Minimum building standards for conventional single-storv classroom building con-struction In the light of the many variations which have been noticed with respect to the construction of school classroom buildings in the recent past, it is useful to reiterate the absolute minimum standards which must be met by those responsible for construction, whether they be private contractors or local government entities.
    Henceforth, all single-story conventional school building construction must comply with these minimum requirements for public elementary and secondary school buildings, a copy of which is attached. Notice that these revised minimum standards do not refer to multi-story construction, nor to prefabricated school buildings. Compliance shall be the responsibility of the Superintendent. These minimum standards are attached as Annex “C”.
  5. Priorities in school building construction. Within the context of the principle of “bringing the school to the pupils, and not the pupils to the school”, the following regional priorities in school building construction will be observed until otherwise modified or changed. In preparing the school building program for any division, it is expected that the Superintendent concerned shall have personal¬ly visited all the proposed and actual school sites concerned. All the various components mentioned below shall be combined into a multi-year master school building prioritization plan for each division.
    1. Completion of incomplete elementary schools. The highest priority will now be accorded to those incomplete schools which do not offer all six elementary grades. All of them, technically speaking, have ceased to be incomplete schools, either because additional classrooms will have been provided to make a total of at least six classrooms, or multigrade classes will have been organized.
      Henceforth, all elementary schools with at least four classrooms but less than six class¬rooms shall be provided with additional classrooms so as to complete the six-room minimum, with one room per grade. Schools with less than four classrooms will be of lower priority, multigrade classes will be organized. However, a particular four- or five-classroom school should not be expanded into a six-classroom school if in the judgment of the Superintendent concerned such additional rooms are not likely to be necessary, in the light of probable enroll¬ment. In addition, each Superintendent shall prioritize all such four- and five-classroom schools for purposes of the provision of additional classrooms. The Regional Director shall compile these priority reports from the various Superintendents.
    2. Provision of schools in barangays previously without schools. The second priority for school construction will be two-room school houses, probably of the prefabricated type, in those barangays which do not as yet have any school of its own, and for which there appears to be a need in terms of potential school children in the vicinity.
      Henceforth, each Regional Director shall compile the barangays in his Region for which two-classroom schools are needed, in terms of priority of attention. Similarly, the Regional Director shall note those barangays which in the judgment of the Superintendent does not require a school, on the basis of potential school children demand.
    3. Municipalities without high schools, public or private. There still remain some six dozen municipalities all over the country without high schools, whether public or private.
      Henceforth, all remaining municipalities without either public or private high schools will be provided with four-classroom high school buildings, preferably of the prefabricated type, whenever possible. It is assumed that adequate sites will have been secured beforehand.
    4. Increases in enrollment of existing schools. Additional classrooms should be programmed in the cases of those schools with increases in enrollment such that additional shifts are no longer possible.
      Henceforth, additional classrooms will be programmed for existing schools for which adequate land space is still available, and additional rooms are called for, say by the existence of multiple class shifts and the like.
  6. Prefabricated and/or demountable single-story school buildings. DECS has entered into a program of providing prefabricated and demountable school buildings which make for easy and prompt installation at the site, of two, three or even more classrooms long, with and without toilets. Prefabricated schools are those portions of which are constructed at the plant and assembled into build¬ings at tire site, while demountable schools are those which are not only prefabricated but which can also be subsequently disassembled for use elsewhere if necessary. It is estimated that construction time will take no longer than two weeks under normal conditions. In addition, the prices for such prefabri¬cated school building are lower than those of the traditional methods of construction.
    Henceforth, all regional directors and school superintendents should consider this option, and whenever possible should utilize it in preference to traditional construction methods. However, such single-story school buildings are not advisable where the school grounds are limited in area, as in cer¬tain highly urbanized locations.
  7. Location of school buildings. It has been observed, from numerous observations of individual schools, that the construction of additional school buildings within the same school site tend to be physically separate from previously existing school buildings. Tins practice is not only unneces¬sarily expensive but also not conducive to the health of children, since they are exposed to the elements on rainy days when crossing from one building to another.
    Henceforth, the construction of additional school buildings should whenever possible abut or connect with existing school buildings to avoid health hazards to school children. All school physical development plans shall be modified to take this format into account.
  8. Location of vocational, home economics, and similar buildings and classrooms. Simi-larly, the practice of having vocational, home economics, and laboratory buildings as physical separate from classroom buildings should no longer be followed. In the main, the classroom sizes of such specialized classrooms do not differ too much from regular classrooms, and their integration into regu¬lar school buildings do not only permit greater flexibility in subsequent use of school classrooms, but also the avoidance of the rain hazard above mentioned.
    Henceforth, there shall no longer be constructed physically separate special purpose buildings where the rooms are used for classrooms, albeit for special subjects.
  9. Philippines 2000 variant signs on new school building walls. It is desirable that the phrase “Philippines 2000” for the Philippine medium-term development plan be given as wide a public¬ity as possible, in order to popularize the socio-economic development program of the administration.
    Henceforth, all public elementary and secondary schools shall have a “Philippines 2000” individualized sign painted on the exterior end wall of any school building constructed after the com¬mencement of this current administration. Preferably, it should be one which can be readily seen from the street in front of the main building of the school. A sample of the sign is enclosed as Annex “D” to this issuance.C. MAINTENANCE
  10. Standard exterior paint schemes. Various colors have been used in the past for school roofs, the most common being dark red, dark green and medium blue, as well as leaving the galvanized roofs unpainted in some cases. A standard paint scheme should be adopted for public school buildings ail over the country, in order that they may provide a common and readily identifiable appearance to passersby, and further to provide a sense of belonging to public school children throughout the country.
    Henceforth, all roofs of school buildings shall be painted dark green, with paint specifically meant for roofs to be utilized. No special brand of paint is being recommended, since a number of paint manufacturers already have suitable roofing paints on the market (see Annex C for representative color brands). In the case of repainting roofs, appropriate sealants shall first be applied where necessary, to avoid rusting and weathered galvanized roofs. Exterior walls shall, at the time of painting or repainting, be provided with very light green or other light colored paint, or even white. Dark colors for walls shall be avoided. Priority in attention of repainting roofs shall be those schools located along major highways in the division.
  11. Use of wood for buildings and equipment. With the rapidly rising price of wood result-ing from the national log ban, it is now necessary to look for alternative materials in order to maximize cost effectiveness. The most obvious would be in the case of school desks, where alternative materials have become competitive in price. Reference is made specifically to desks made of steel and plywood, as against the traditional desks made completely of wood. While no particular supplier or design is recommended, such alternative types of school desks should be examined. This Office is looking into the development of such designs, which can then be manufactured locally.
  12. Effectivity. These policies and procedures shall be effective immediately.

Reference: DECS Order: (No. 6, s. 1989)
Allotment: 1-2–(M.O. 1-87)

To be indicated in the Perpetual Index under the following subjects: