If your church is planning a new building or remodeling project, you’ve got to think ahead. Church leaders will often decide to help pay some of those project expenses not just through a capital campaign, but through a daycare center in the church.

There are definitely some benefits to doing so—including ministry opportunities and visibility in the neighborhood. But there are also different rules for daycares than there are for churches. And that means you will need to pay close attention to the size of children’s spaces in your church design in order to complete your project without any regulatory hitches along the way.

Playing Around with Playground Sizes

Any good church design considers more than just the inside of a church building. When it comes to daycare, there are rules to consider before you even walk inside.

For example, states regulate that an accredited daycare must have a certain amount of play space available for each kid. Usually this ranges between 50 and 60 square feet per child. So if you are going to send a class of 20 kids out to your playground, it’s got to be at least 1,000 square feet in size.

For many churches, that’s a lot of room that could be planned for other uses, which is why you’ve got to carefully integrate daycare church design into your larger church building project.

Daycare and Church Building Codes and Classroom Sizes

We’ve talked in a previous post about building codes, which again are different for daycares than they are for children’s church. For example, if you’re thinking about remodeling a basement meeting space for young children daycare classrooms, you’ll need to consider the cost.

Most states require every classroom for children 30 months of age or younger to have a door that leads directly outdoors. If your church building doesn’t have an automatic fire suppression system, your design must include such a door in every children’s classroom, regardless of age.

Classroom requirements for daycare generally range between 30 and 35 square feet per child. You also must be mindful of the child-to-teacher ratio, which will have different requirements depending on the age of the children being cared for and what state you’re in.

For babies in their first 12 months, you generally need one teacher for every five children. As kids get older, you can increase the ratio. By the time kids reach kindergarten, you can have one teacher for every 18 kids.

All this means you’ve got to make sure your classrooms are big enough for daycare in addition to church on Sunday.

Adding ADA to the Church Design Equation

Another major contrast for churches is that every daycare center must adhere to regulations specified in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

ADA rules can impact everything in the building. For example, older stairways might not be wide enough, or the steps could be deemed to be too steep or inconsistent. You might be required to add an elevator if you’re going to host a daycare in a multilevel church building. You’ll also need family restrooms, wider doorways, and ramps incorporated into your new church design.

More Information for Better Stewardship

As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when including daycare needs in your new church or renovation project. We’re not saying you shouldn’t do it; instead, we want to make sure you’re fully informed so you have the best chances of success.

This is why we created our free i3 webinar series. Visit our website today and you can sign up for one or all.

As for the members of your team who might be hoping a daycare will help recoup the cost of your new or renovated church building? They might be surprised to find that including a daycare can actually increase the building costs of your project. To learn more, contact us today at 800-625-6448 and let’s discuss your specific situation.