Guidelines for Use of School Buildings

Permit Guidelines

General Hours of operation: School Facilities are available for use on the weekdays between the hours of 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. and on the weekends between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.

Use of a school facility shall be granted only within the limits prescribed in the Constitutions, General Laws of Massachusetts and the City of Somerville ordinances, and only to organizations with headquarters or branches located within the City of Somerville. See, for example, the following portion of General Laws Chapter 71, Section 71: “For the purpose of promoting the usefulness of public school property, the School Committee of any town may conduct such educational and recreational activities in or upon school property under its control, and, subject to such regulations as it may establish, and consistently and without interference with the use of the premises for school purposes, shall allow the use thereof by individuals and associations for such educational, recreational, social, civic, philanthropic and like purposes as it deems for the interest of the community.” The affiliation of an individual or association with a religious organization does not disqualify such individual or association from using school property for a permitted purpose. Use of school property to conduct religious services is not a permitted use. School buildings will not be rented to outside businesses or individuals for private use to promote said business or for private parties for individuals.

Groups wishing to use a school building during the aforementioned hours of operation must complete the on-line permit application at least two weeks in advance of the program date, or earlier, if School Committee approval is required.See

  • Permits are not transferable. A new permit must be applied for when any changes in organization, date or location take place.
  • The approved permit from the School Department Finance Office (Finance Director) must be presented to the Building Custodian before entering the buildings.
  • The School Committee reserves the right to reject any application if, in its judgment, such action is not suitable or proper.
  • School and City events take precedence over all other events. Should a School or City event need to be scheduled on a specific date there is a chance that your event might be cancelled or relocated. You may either reschedule or a refund will be issued for any fees paid.

The Somerville High School Field House is an educational facility constructed to support the needs of the students enrolled in academic and athletic programs at the school. All other uses, regardless of sponsor, are secondary to these educational needs. The Field House is to be used for any community purpose only after all other School facilities are fully utilized. The intent is to schedule events into the smaller neighborhood facilities before any event is scheduled into the Field House. The only activities to be scheduled in the Field House are:

  • Programs presented by, or in support of, the Somerville Public School System and its educational and athletic programs.
  • Public recreation programs sponsored by the Somerville Recreation Commission.
  • Special programs in service to the community approved by special permit of the Somerville School Committee. These may include programs sponsored by non-profit community organizations providing unusual programs open to all residents of the city. These events will be scheduled into available hours not permanently assigned to the programs of the School Committee or the Somerville Recreation Commission.
  • Programs provided by any “for-profit” organization are specifically excluded from use of the Field House, as are programs sponsored by non-profit organizations that are intended to raise money to support any program of the sponsoring organization.

The Auditoriums located at the East Somerville Community School and Somerville High School are available for use on a restricted basis. The East Somerville Auditorium is a full size performance stage with a seating capacity of 300 and the SHS Auditorium is a dimensional full size theatrical stage with a total seating capacity of 800. The lower level seats 500 and the upper level seats 300. Use of the sound equipment in both auditoriums must be arranged with the School Department’s Music Director (See #3 under the Fees section below).

General Use

An officer or recognized leader of such groups must file the application. Thereafter, that officer or leader assumes the responsibility for the group while using the facility. Such responsibility includes:

  • Checking with the Building Custodian upon entering and leaving the building.
  • The proper conduct of the group.
  • Clean-up of refreshments and area(s) used.
  • Cost and repair of any damaged property caused by the group or any group member.
  • Informing the group of fire drill procedures.
  • Orderly entrance and exit of the group from premises.
  • Periodic check of lavatory facilities, if used.

Meetings in the evening other than for school purposes shall not be open to children under 18 years of age unless supervised by adults at a ratio of 10 youngsters to 1 adult.

No smoking or alcohol (MGLc272, Sec.40A) shall be allowed in any school building under any circumstances, nor shall candy or refreshments of any kind be sold in or about the halls without permission. Absolutely no food or beverages shall be allowed in gymnasium areas. Food and beverages shall be allowed only in cafeteria or designated areas, as noted on permit.

Set up or rental of tables and chairs is available by using the City’s 311 constituent services.


The cost of custodial services is listed below in the Rate Schedule Section, unless otherwise decided by the School Committee. Internal applicants must assume the cost of custodial services during the days and hours that buildings are not staffed with a regular custodial or building Supervisor. Additional fees apply for kitchen use.

The applicant group must assume the cost of SPS kitchen staff, if kitchen use is requested.

Use of the sound system at the East Somerville Community School (ESCS) and Somerville High School (SHS) auditoriums will require approval from the Somerville Public Schools Music Director. The applicant group must assume any fees associated with staff hired to operate the system.

The School Department may require the attendance of one or more policemen if in its judgment it is deemed necessary, the expense of the same to be paid by the applicant directly to the Police Department, and such expense will be in addition to building use fees.

Liability insurance in the amount of $300,000 - $1,000,000 may be required. This must be presented prior to occupancy.

Any damages caused by a group beyond normal use will be charged to the group. Failure to pay such damages will be reason to deny any further request from the group to use school property.


All payments must be made prior to the event. Payment must be made by check or money order; no cash or credit card payments are accepted. Non-sufficient returned checks are subject to a $30.00 fee. Repeated submittal of non-sufficient returned checks forfeits an organization’s right to future permits. Failure to pay fees in a timely fashion forfeits an organization’s right to future permits.


A building use permit is not valid if the facility is deemed by the City to be in unsuitable condition for any unforeseen reason. If school is cancelled due to snow on the day of the scheduled event or if there is a snow emergency in effect, the event will be cancelled. Snow emergency information will be posted on the School Department’s website ( or on the City’s website (

Cancellation by a permit holder must be done 48 hours prior to scheduled event. Without proper cancellation notice, all fees will be due and may forfeit an organization’s right to future permits.

Rate Schedule

Custodial Rate: The cost for custodial services will be in accordance with the contractual rate contained in the existing custodial contract. This will be an hourly rate with a minimum of four hours on each permit. Beyond the initial four hours, it becomes an actual hourly rate for each continuing hour.

Please note that the following locations at each elementary school and the high school that display “School Use Only” are not available for use by the public:

Art Room, Conference Room, Classrooms, Music Room/Band Room, School Building.

Standard Rates for School Facilities are as follows:      

School Facility / User Fee

Dr. Albert F. Argenziano School at Lincoln Park (290 Washington St.)

  • Cafeteria / $50.00
  • Gym / $50.00
  • Library / $50.00

Benjamin G. Brown School (201 Willow Ave.)

  • This Building is not available for evening or weekend event use by the public.

Michael E. Capuano Early Childhood Center (150 Glen St.)

  • Cafeteria / $50.00
  • Gym – Only available for activities for students / $50.00                                       

Cummings School (42 Prescott St.)

  • This Building is not available for evening or weekend event use by the public.

East Somerville Community School (50 Cross St.)

  • Cafeteria / $50.00
  • Gym (Currently used for internal programming only.) / $50.00
  • Auditorium (See #9 of the Permit Guidelines above.) / $100.00

Edgerly Education Center (8 Bonair St.)

  • This Building is not available for evening or weekend event use by the public.

Arthur D. Healey School (5 Meacham St.)

  • Cafeteria / $50.00
  • Gym / $50.00
  • Library / $50.00

John F. Kennedy School (5 Cherry St.)

  • Cafeteria /  $50.00
  • Gym / $50.00
  • Library / $50.00
  • Pool – Is not available for rental for private use. For information on pool class registration and events visit or call 617-629-5445.

Somerville High School (81 Highland Ave.)

  • Atrium / $50.00 
  • Auditorium (See #9 of the Permit Guidelines above.)
    • $400.00 (lower floor)
    • $200.00 (upper floor)
  • Cafeteria / $50.00
  • Culinary Arts Bistro / $50.00 - The Bistro is only available with advance authorization from the Director of the Culinary Arts Program. 
  • Field House / $100/hr (4-hour minimum) - (See #8 of the Permit Guidelines above.) 
  • Library / $50.00

West Somerville Neighborhood School (177 Powder House Blvd.)

  • Cafeteria / $50.00
  • Gym / $50.00
  • Library / $50.00

Winter Hill Community Innovation School (115 Sycamore St.)

  • Cafeteria / $50.00
  • Gym / $50.00
  • Library / $50.00

Download and print a copy of these "Guidelines for Use of Somerville Public School Buildings".