Joint Use Agreements

Physical activity is an important part of good health for everyone, regardless of age or ability. Adults who are regularly active can better manage stress, maintain a healthy weight, and decrease their risk of developing chronic diseases. Communities are identifying ways to encourage people to be more active.  Joint use agreements remove barriers to physical activity by providing places to be active.

Joint use agreements are formal agreements between two or more entities – often a school and one or more public or private organization – outlining terms and conditions for shared use of public property or facilities. These are written documents agreed upon by all parties and can apply to various types of facilities.

Joint use agreements that increase access to physical activity are an opportunity to align resources and work together to meet the needs of the entire community. Individuals and families may have increased access to playgrounds, basketball courts, and walking trails. Community organizations can gain access to fields and gymnasiums to practice and compete, and schools may share some of the costs associated with increased use by charging rental fees. Furthermore, participating in physical activity in safe and clean public spaces helps everyone to feel more connected to their community.

There are four types of joint use agreements:

1. Opening outdoor facilities for use during non-school hours – Schools identify outdoor facilities such as tracks, fields and playgrounds that will be open for use by community members.

 2. Opening indoor and outdoor facilities for use during non-school hours –

Schools open both outdoor and indoor facilities for use by community members. This includes tracks, fields, playgrounds, gymnasiums and pools.

3. Opening school facilities for use during non-school hours and authorizing third parties to operate programs – Schools allow groups like youth sports leagues to rent facilities for a small fee. This requires scheduling but schools can earn money to assist with maintenance.

4. Joint use of school district and city/county recreational facilities – Schools and communities are encouraged to share the cost of building new facilities or co-locating a shared need, such as a pool.