University Business April 2018 - 36
to accommodate all these new programs,
when in fact, so much of the space they
have is underutilized," says Schiff. "The
focus needs to be more on how that space
gets changed to accommodate the needs
of these evolving programs."
Schiff advocates a no-net-new space
approach. "If enrollment is flat and
you're adding space, there is also space
that can and should be taken offline at
the same time," he says.
By shutting down an older building
when adding a new one, an institution
removes potential deferred maintenance,
adds a newer building that can be more
highly utilized and keeps operating costs
Improving space utilization is a goal
on every campus, with data analysis tools
and software key to many efforts. Ultimately, there are different cases for different spaces.
To address evolving pedagogy, University
4 to-do's for
When planning new space,
1. Investing with space utilization in mind-Target investments
to improve space efficiency.
2. Coordinating to create investment "win-wins"-Collaborate
between departments to increase
3. Maximizing the impact of
each investment-Make sure that
any planning considers wider campus goals.
4. Planning for where not to spend
future capital-Recognize situations where the institution would
be throwing good money after bad
(if a building is no longer viable and
not worthy of renovation).
36 | April 2018
of Michigan-Dearborn has a prototype
flexible classroom that includes the latest ed tech and a half-dozen collaborative
The room also allows campus planners to assess how much space is actually
needed for new methods of instruction,
says Director of Facilities Planning Kate
Pepin, who has seen the campus double
in size during her 20-year tenure. "A flexible classroom layout requires approximately 45 square feet per student, while
fixed seating can be accommodated with
15 to 20 square feet per student."
A goal for future expansions is finding the right mix of standard and flexible
classrooms. The university's new physical
science building has six recitation rooms
featuring moveable furniture, extra writing surfaces and standardized, easy-to-use
instructional tech so a physics professor
can teach just as comfortably in a building designated for business.
Overall the institution is moving toward fewer lecture halls and more classrooms with strip tables and chairs, as opposed to the traditional table armchair.
"We're conscious of which spaces are
used more frequently and how we can accommodate that to the best degree possible while not reducing the number of
classrooms or seats," says Pepin.
Getting more out of more
in by the city of Evanston, Illinois, and
Lake Michigan-faces limited expansion
opportunities. As such, officials try to get
the most out of existing facilities, says
Carrie West, associate director of facilities planning.
"We want our spaces to be 'and' kinds
of spaces," says West. "As in, 'This space
functions as this, and can also function
as that.' "
For instance, the recently renovated
Mudd Library includes an open classroom area with flexible seating for daytime classes that is also available at night
as study space. Other rooms can host
West uses a database to track building
and room usage-including occupancy,
performance improvement and course
information-at the university's Evanston and downtown Chicago campuses.
"We're really trying to get a much
more granular level of data tracking," she
says. "We use the information to plan for
new buildings, innovations and needs of
our campus users."
The university has been working to
standardize all departmental office space.
For example, during recent renovations on Kresge Hall, the 90,000-squarefoot home for arts and humanities, standard space guidelines-or the equivalent
square footage-were set. The equivalent
option allows departments to design their
own areas, such as creating open lounge
seating for group work, while adhering to
the allotted amount.
The University of Michigan-Dearborn is also standardizing offices, which,
as Pepin explains, involves first evaluating
a department's current spatial resources.
"We're doing that for one department
right now, who thought they could use
more space," she says. "As we've gone
through the process, we've realized that
they already have significantly more than
we would allocate if we were to build
new space for them."
Pepin has been walking through the
department with administrators from
that area to discuss how they are utilizing the space and how it can be managed
better in another way.
Back to the lab
UMass Amherst is a tier-one research
university, with nearly 2 million square
feet dedicated to STEM-related research.
As at many institutions, lab space is the
most expensive to keep up and the demand is growing-even though enrollment has been flat, says Thomas Huf,
senior program manager for facilities
programming and planning.
When assessing space-related projects,
Huf relies on a database that includes
GIS information for rooms and buildwww.universitybusiness.com
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