Laptops, organizers, pencils, pens, notebooks … Students everywhere are gearing up to go back to school. And for design professionals out there, we’ve got some helpful information to keep you in the know for your own school projects.

Today we’ll tell you what you need to know when planning mailbox installations for colleges and universities. So, grab your drafting pencil and let’s get to it!

Are there any special considerations for campus mailboxes?

Yes. One of the main distinctions that colleges and universities typically have is private delivery.

Private delivery is when someone other than a USPS carrier delivers mail to individual mailboxes. (Other private delivery applications include office mailrooms, financial institutions, military housing, and health care facilities.)

Our neighbors at Kansas State University shared how this works at their campus.

“Both campus and USPS mail goes through Central Mail Services, who then distributes it to the individual halls,” said Nick Lander, Assistant Director for Residence Life, K-State Housing & Dining Services. “UPS, FedEx, etc., all deliver directly to our (residence) halls.”

Mailboxes are installed in the lobby of each residence hall, he explained, and each university apartment complex also has a central mailroom.

“It is convenient for students since they can pick up mail where they live as opposed to a central location on campus,” he said.

What types of mailboxes are ideal for these settings?

Mailboxes used for private delivery installations have more flexibility in terms of layout. Because the USPS does not deliver directly to the mailboxes, they are not subject to USPS regulations.

This helps colleges and universities accommodate more mailboxes in a given area. (Lander says their residence halls hold as many as 300 mailboxes!)

K-State uses the horizontal style of mailboxes, he added.

Standard 4C, or STD-4C, are the current standard for indoor, mounted mailboxes. They feature horizontal mailboxes, which protect mail from bending and damage. They are also more secure and durable than their predecessors, the Standard 4B+ mailboxes.

“We have replaced many of our boxes in the last few years, so we don’t have many maintenance issues,” Lander said.

Are the specs any different?

Yes. Because of the flexibility afforded by private delivery, specifying STD-4C mailboxes for colleges and universities is a little different. First and foremost, you should update your master specs to ensure you are specifying the current standard instead of obsolete equipment.

(You can even import the current specs directly into BIM Revit.)

You can also fully configure the mailbox installation — from installation height to mailbox sizes — to match your project’s specifications.

Mailboxes for private delivery also have the option of using a combination lock (only available for private delivery) or a standard lock and key (USPS compliant) as well as the option for vision windows so residents don’t have to open their mailbox to see if the mail is there.

What do I need to know about planning for packages?

Adequate space for packages is crucial today. Growth in shipping volume has increased dramatically over the past few years — a trend that will continue into the future.

And for college and university students, package management is even more important because not only are parents shipping precious items forgotten at home, but students are also taking advantage of greater purchasing power afforded by their first credit card offers and the ease of ordering textbooks and other supplies online.

“We definitely get more packages now with many students shopping online,” Lander said.

Not all schools use built-in package lockers. For those that do, we recommend having one package locker for every six mailboxes — a ratio that will help ensure delivery needs are met now and into the future.

Congratulations! You’re now an ace in university mailbox installations!

To start planning your next mailbox installation, visit our online configurator to explore your options and design an installment specific to your project.