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K-12 school construction costs for 2024

Construction Costs

K-12 school construction costs for 2024

Data from Gordian breaks down the average cost per square foot for four different types of K-12 school buildings across 10 U.S. cities.


By Gordian | February 22, 2024
K-12 school construction costs for 2024 Photo by Taylor Flowe on Unsplash

Photo by Taylor Flowe on Unsplash

Educational facilities management leaders juggle a number of priorities including program consistency, health and safety, accessing funding and environmental responsibility. These leaders' number one priority is the education of our nation’s most valuable and vulnerable asset: the children. 

The condition of educational facilities is proven to have a statistically significant impact on student behavior and achievement. Improvements to temperature control, air quality, lighting, acoustics and classroom space can benefit the morale and performance of staff and students. Many school systems across the country are looking to recover from the disruptions and learning loss in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic by utilizing federal funding to improve facilities and safety. 

As North America’s leading construction cost database, Gordian’s RSMeans Data has been synonymous with reliability since the 1940s, serving as a trustworthy resource when budgeting for projects. With localized square foot costs on over 100 building models, Gordian’s RSMeans Data allows architects, engineers and other preconstruction professionals to quickly and accurately create conceptual estimates for future builds. 

This table shows the most recent costs per square foot for different levels of school buildings (elementary, junior high, high school, and vocational) in select cities, with sustainable, “green” building considerations.

New York City is the most costly metro market for K-12 school construction, with elementary school buildings running $320.96 per square foot on average and high schools at $319.16 per square foot. Honolulu, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas round out the top five most-costly school construction markets analyzed by Gordian.

The national average cost for the four primary K-12 school buildings are: $239.21 for elementary schools, $230.36 for junior high schools, $233.16 for high schools, and $221.39 vocational schools. 

Visit rsmeans.com/bdandc for more information about Gordian’s RSMeans Data. 

Cost Per Square Foot for School Buildings With Green Building Considerations 

City

Elementary

Junior High

High School

Vocational

National Average

$239.21 

$230.36 

$233.16 

$221.39 

Houston

$197.83 

$190.44 

$190.68 

$181.85 

Miami

$202.37 

$195.81 

$196.98 

$187.87 

Memphis, Tenn.

$208.43 

$198.35 

$198.62 

$189.38 

Denver

$213.18 

$205.35 

$206.78 

$196.82 

Baltimore, Md.

$222.75 

$214.14 

$215.80 

$206.00 

Las Vegas

$253.94 

$247.12 

$250.85 

$238.14 

Los Angeles

$277.00 

$267.90 

$272.84 

$258.68 

Honolulu

$287.16 

$284.99 

$288.29 

$274.88 

Chicago

$291.00 

$281.89 

$288.59 

$271.72 

New York

$320.96 

$311.08 

$319.16 

$301.24 

Please note: Square foot models are used for planning and budgeting and are not meant for detailed estimates. 

More building construction cost reports from Gordian:

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