School facilities are provided by the public and should be made available to the community for non-commercial uses when practical and such use does not conflict with the operations of the district. District-sponsored activities, including curricular and co-curricular functions, retain first priority in use of facilities. Authorization for use of school facilities will not be considered as endorsement or approval of the activity, group or organization.
The public will be expected to reimburse the district for such use to ensure that funds intended for education are not used for other purposes. The superintendent is authorized to establish procedures for use of school facilities, including rental rates, supervisory requirements, restrictions, and security.
All users of District facilities must accept financial responsibility for any damage and must comply with the policies of the Board of Directors and the regulations established by the school administration. Those using school facilities shall provide evidence of insurance for accidents and liability covering persons using the District’s facilities. (Policy No. 4260)
For more information call 360-676-6538 or Facility.Use@bellinghamschools.org
The school district and City of Bellingham have an interlocal agreement that governs community use of school fields. To book one of the school fields, please contact City of Bellingham Parks and Rec at 360-778-7000.
View our fee schedule for facility rentals.
Community Use of School Facilities
It is the aim of the school board to make school facilities available for community use. Usage must be in the public interest and for the public good. Organizations and groups using school district facilities agree to abide by the following rules:
- Application – An “Application for Rental of School Facilities” is to be submitted to the District Finance & Operations Office a minimum of fourteen (14) days prior to the date on which the facilities are to be used. A copy of the approved application is to be on file in the building prior to the scheduled activity.
- Approval – Each application for the use of school facilities is approved by the building administrator and the Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations or designee.
- Access – Applications are approved for specific rooms/facilities and Buildings or other school facilities are opened by the responsible custodian only upon the presentation of an approved application. The user organization is responsible for ensuring that unauthorized portions of the building are not entered and the premises are vacated as scheduled.
- Cancellations – All cancellations must be made through the Finance and Operations Office at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled usage or the user organization may be billed for the entire rental fee or the actual costs incurred by the District.
- Athletic/Playing Fields – Any organized group wishing to use District athletic or playing fields must file an application in accordance with established District procedures. Any such use must be appropriate and compatible with the field and its surrounding area. Unauthorized use of District fields by organized groups constitutes trespassing and will be dealt with accordingly. Casual use of fields by members of the community on an individual basis is permitted as long as those uses do not endanger others or cause damage to fields and lawns. User groups may not mark or otherwise modify fields without written District approval.
- Fees – The Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations determines and recommends a fee schedule for use of District facilities. The fee schedule is reviewed and revised as appropriate.
- Payment – Payment is to be made to the District Finance and Operations Office in advance unless other arrangements are made at the time of application. If other arrangements are made, payment will be due in full within 30 days of billing date.
- Additional Charges – Charges may be levied to cover the cost of additional services not covered in the original agreement, such as custodial overtime. If the rental occurs outside of normal custodial staffing hours, overtime will be based on actual utilization with a minimum of 2 hours. Additional charges may also be levied for damages and/or agreement violations.
- Damage to Property – User will be responsible for any damage to District property resulting from user’s use of the facilities. In the event of damage, the District will issue a bill for the reasonable repair or replacement cost of the damaged property to user, and user will promptly pay such sums to the District.
- Head Injuries and Sudden Cardiac Arrest – Private nonprofit youth sports organizations must complete and attach to this application the District’s Compliance Statement for HB 1824 (Youth Sports Head Injury Policies) and SB 5083 (Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness).
- District Staffing – A custodian or other authorized District employee must be on the premises during any use of a District facility by a non-school group.
- Custodial Service – Custodial services are restricted to unlocking and locking doors, operating lights, providing heat, setting up chairs, and performing routine clean up. Groups for which rental costs and/or other charges are waived in part or in full, must assist the custodian in setting up and revolving chairs in performing routine cleanup.
- Food Service – If kitchen facilities are used to prepare a meal (using District cooking and dish-washing equipment, ranges, etc.), a regular food service employee must be in attendance with actual wages and benefits charged to the user organization.
- Priority Use – District or school organization activities have first preference for all District Non-school applications are superseded in any instance where facilities are needed for school activities.
- Prejudicial Use – Permits will not be granted for any meetings, which in the judgment of the District, may be prejudicial to the best interests of the schools or educational system or for which satisfactory sponsorship is not provided. All permits are revocable and are not considered as a lease.
- Cancellation by District – It is understood and agreed by the applicant that permission may be revoked or canceled at any time with or without cause and in the event of such revocation or cancellation, there shall be no claim or right to damages or reimbursement on account of any loss, damage, or expense incurred.
- Indemnification and Hold Harmless Provision – The user agrees to defend, indemnify, and hold harmless the District, its elected and appointed officials, employees, agents, and staff from any and all claims, liabilities, damages, expenses, or rights of action, directly or indirectly attributable to the user’s activities and/or use of premises in connection with this agreement. The District will have the right, but not the obligation, to participate in any defense at its own cost and with its own counsel.
- General Liability – User must maintain general liability insurance in the amount of $1,000,000 per occurrence, provided by an insurance company authorized to business in Washington. The required amount may be increased if the District determines that additional potential exposure exists. User will provide a certificate of insurance naming the District as additional insured prior to use of the facilities and promptly upon later request.
- Supervision – User organizations must provide sufficient, qualified adult supervision for any scheduled youth activity.
- Decorations and Alterations – Plans for decorating must be approved in advance by the building or program administrator. Applicants are required to remove materials, equipment, furnishings, or litter after use of school facilities. No sign shall be placed on the outside of school buildings.
- Restoration of Facilities – All school facilities are to be left in appropriate condition immediately following each activity. Appropriate athletic shoes will be required for all indoor athletic activities.
- Purpose – Purpose of use must be as stated on the application; deviation will be considered a breach of contract and may result in denial of future use.
- Smoking, Drinking, Disorderly Conduct – Smoking is not permitted in school buildings or on school grounds. No alcoholic beverages are to be brought or consumed in a school building or on school grounds. Disorderly conduct and willful destruction of property are forbidden. Violators will be prosecuted in accordance with the law. It is unlawful for a person to carry onto public school premises any firearm or other dangerous weapon as defined by law.
- Prohibited Organizations – Organizations which advocate the violent overthrow of the government or its institutions or violations of its laws, or which promote any form of discrimination are excluded from utilizing District facilities. Facilities are restricted to use by groups or organizations and not by individuals.
- User Organization Responsibility – The user organization is responsible for the enforcement of the above regulations and is responsible for all participants, spectators, and affiliated personnel.
- Compliance with Law – User and its agents and participants will comply with all District policies and procedures, and with all applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and ordinances.
- Nondiscrimination – User will provide equal opportunity in programs and employment and not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin/language, creed/religion, sex, sexual orientation (including gender identity), disability or the use of a service animal by a person with a disability, age, marital status, honorably discharged veterans, or military status.
- Relationship of the Parties – Nothing contained in this Agreement will be construed to create the relationship of employer and employee, principal and agent, partnership or joint venture, or any other fiduciary relationship between the District and user or its agents or participants.
- Venue – In the event that any party deems it necessary to institute legal action or proceedings to enforce any right or obligation under this Agreement, the parties hereto agree that any such action or proceeding will be brought in a court of competent jurisdiction in Whatcom County, Washington. The laws of the State of Washington will apply to this Agreement.
- Attorneys’ Fees – Should it be necessary to institute any action to enforce the terms of this Agreement, the parties hereby agree that the prevailing party in any such action shall be entitled to recover its reasonable attorneys’ fees.
- Waiver – The failure of the District to insist upon strict performance of any of the covenants and agreements contained herein will not be construed to be a waiver or relinquishment of any such right.
- Assignment – User will not assign or sublet its rights or responsibilities under this Agreement without the written authorization of the District. Subject to the foregoing, the Agreement will be binding upon, enforceable by, and inure to the benefit of, the parties and their successors and assigns.
For rental rate purposes, organizations seeking the use of school facilities have been divided into three categories. It shall be the decision of the Finance and Operations office to determine which rate schedule applies to any particular group. The following serves as a guideline and fees below may be modified based on duration of use, excessive wear and tear, revenue associated with use, etc.:
Category 1: District, School or Affiliated Groups:
District, school, and affiliated groups such as school athletic teams, staff committees, professional development of district staff, PTA, booster clubs, ASB and similar groups.
Adult sponsorship and supervision is required.
Generally, there is no facility use fee for these groups other than when the district incurs extra utility, custodial, or supervision costs due to use or impact during and outside of regular school hours.
Category 2: Non-Profit Youth Centric Groups:
Non-profit youth centric group use includes activities conducted by those organizations whose main purpose is to promote the welfare of students. Such as Scouts, Campfire, 4-H and similar groups. Adult sponsorship and supervision is required.
All rentals are at the discretion of the district. All non-profit organizations shall submit their IRS Determination Letter at the time of application. Facility use fees apply for these groups. Separate fees for space, utilities, custodial or supervision will be charged based on the current facility use fee schedule and costs incurred by the district due to use or impact during and outside of regular school hours.
Category 3: Non-Profit Groups, Individual Community Members, Informal Groups, Religious Groups, Public Colleges, Universities and Government Agencies:
Non-profit groups, individual community members, informal groups, religious groups, public colleges, universities and government agencies may use school facilities for lectures, promotional activities, rallies, entertainment, courses, religious meetings or other similar activities. All rentals are at the discretion of the district. All non-profit organizations shall submit their IRS Determination Letter at the time of application.
Category 4: Commercial Enterprises:
District facilities are available for use by commercial enterprises including for profit organizations and business-related enterprises at the discretion of the district.
All rentals are at the discretion of the district.
Fair market facility use, utility, custodial, and supervision fees apply based on the fee schedule and costs incurred by the district due to use or impact during and outside of regular school hours.