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Facilities Planning

Press Boxes


Public school districts often construct a Press Box to provide shelter and a vantage point for scorekeepers, videography, and broadcast equipment.  These facilities, like all other district facilities, may only be used if they have a current Certificate of Occupancy.  The facility must be listed on the New York State Education Department Fire/Safety building inventory and pass annual Fire/Safety Inspections. If your building is not listed on the Annual Fire Inspection biography, please submit our "Approval of Use" form to apply for the Commissioner's Approval of an existing building. If you are constructing a new Press Box, follow our normal procedures by submitting a letter of intent so that we may issue a project number.  Approval is based on the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code (Code) and Education Department requirements.

Press Boxes are considered a U, utility/miscellaneous occupancy.  Buildings that also include other occupancies such as storage or concession stands must comply with the Code and Department requirements for each occupancy.  Fire-rated separations between occupancies must meet Code requirements and proper exiting based on Code and Regulations must be provided.

The "Construction Classification" depends on what materials are used in the construction of the building.  The materials and fire protection of building components, as well as the height and fire area of the building, are governed by the Code.  In addition, Press Boxes must meet the following requirements:

  1. Buildings having three usable floor levels, i.e., three enclosed floors with no access to, or use of the roof; or two enclosed floors and use of the roof level, must be at a minimum Construction Type I, II-A, III-A or IV.  These are noncombustible, fire-rated, and heavy timber construction types.  Three usable floors mean that there is a storage room or concession stand on the grade level and the first level of the press box is at the top level, accessible from, the bleachers and only one usable level above the bleacher level.
  2. Buildings limited to two usable floor levels, i.e., two enclosed floors with no access to or use of the roof; or one enclosed floor and use of the roof level, must be at a minimum Construction Type II-B, III-B, or V-A.  These construction types are Non-combustible, Ordinary, and Protected Wood Frame.  All have Code requirements for fire ratings.
  3. Buildings limited to one usable floor level, with no access to or use of the roof level, may be constructed of Type V-B Construction.  This construction type is Wood Frame and requires less fire-resistance rating than the types noted above.
  4. The maximum occupancy on each floor level shall be determined on the basis of 15 square feet per person.  Appropriate signs limiting occupancy must be posted.
  5. Safe remote means of egress shall be provided from each floor level.  The primary exit shall be a conventional stair, a 60-degree ship ladder, or a four-foot minimum diameter spiral stair.  Vertical ladders are not acceptable as the primary exit.  The second means of egress may be through a window or panel with a minimum clear opening area of six square feet and a minimum dimension of 24 inches which opens onto the bleachers.  Vertical ladders or access directly to bleachers or grandstands may be used as the second means of egress.  Noncombustible bleachers or grandstands may be used for primary exiting.  Exit stairs need not be enclosed, however, consideration should be given to local concerns for the prevention of vandalism.
  6. Guards per code are required at the perimeter of usable roofs, on three sides of all floor and roof openings, and at open sides of stairs.  Handrails are required on one side of the stairs and both sides of the ship's ladders.
  7. Hardware on exit doors shall be at least classroom function.  Note: no deadbolts or padlock hasps are allowed on any public school-owned or occupied building or space.
  8. Building systems, electrical, plumbing, heating, and ventilation systems shall meet all applicable Code provisions.
  9. Accessibility by disabled persons is not required for Press Boxes with an aggregate area of 500 square feet or less.  However, an outlet or wireless controls for the operation of the scoreboard and public address systems are required at an accessible location.
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