Gymnasium Seating Layout - Understanding Commonly-Used Terms

By Anne Chapman April 14 2020 Gymnasium Seating


Whether you’re renovating a school gymnasium or starting a new build from scratch, you'll face many challenges while planning a space that is a source of pride. During your project, you'll be partnering with professionals from different trades, who will guide and inform you. Let's take a look at some seating layout terms you'll frequently hear.  

A gymnasium can showcase school spirit with colors and logos, but it is much more than just a home for sporting events. It also provides a place for the community to gather. As such, it needs to be a quickly adaptable space, to accommodate a range of needs. 

Depending on the school size and the overall need of the community, the amount of seating needed will vary. Your seat count should take into account the types of events, size of competitions, and attendance history for the facility. Additionally, all seats need to be easily accessible to all guests, and your design should provide for easy traffic flow between all areas. 

Welcome to the beginning of a challenging process that will take your school and community to a new level! We've started with the basics. The glossary below provides a quick reference of some common, important gymnasium seating terms you will encounter as you begin your project. 

Row Rise-1Row Rise

Vertical distance between two common points



Row SpacingRow Spacing

Horizontal distance between two common points



Seat Height


Seat Height

Distance between top of seat and footrest


Seat DepthSeat Depth

Varies between plastic seat modules and wood seating


Clear Passage

Clear Passage

Walking area within a row of seating. (aka Aisle Access Way)



Open Closed Depth


Open/Closed Depth

Depth of unit in the open/closed position



Group LengthGroup Length

Overall length of the entire seating area



Section LengthSection Length

Individual sections are used to achieve the entire seating area



Seating Area

Seating Area

The area between two aisles


Next Up: Arena Seating Layout Terms

This post is the first in a series on Gymnasium and Arena seating. Check out the next post on Arena Seating Layout Terms. We are happy to share our expertise.


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