Committee on Finance and Planning received from Vice President for University
Services Kathleen O'Brien and Associate Vice President Michael Berthelsen
(Facilities Management) a set of questions related to space use and cost
planning. The Committee is very aware of environmental and financial reasons to
optimize space utilization on campus. In this time of fiscal constraints, it is
critical for the University community to make efficient use of our resources.
The Committee strongly supports these efforts and recommends to the
University/Faculty Senate that it adopt the following principles.
To maximize energy savings, the U would need to be willing to set operational
boundaries for space use. The largest drivers of energy are hours of operation
and being able to predictably
down when unoccupied. To do so would
impact the environment or possible operation of select buildings with one or a
few users. Is the U ready to implement such changes?
University should identify which buildings can be closed, locked, and "turned
down" outside of normal business hours, or outside of business plus evening
hours, those which can only be closed after business plus evening/Saturday hours
and those which must remain open 24/7 because of unique requirements. The
Committee invites University Services to draft standards, for Committee
consultation, by which to make decisions about building hours.
We know that single purpose buildings (examples: labs, classrooms, offices) are
both cheaper to build and to operate. However, this would require some
adjustments to current practice. Is the U ready for such changes?
that are composed entirely of large lecture classrooms are desirable for their
efficiency. Buildings that house graduate students, labs, faculty offices, and
small classrooms/seminar rooms will still be required.
If the U has less space with the same program, it would need to schedule its
classes and events more intensely. With the advantage of technology to see all
spaces, it is possible to centrally schedule. This would mean giving up some
control of space assignments. Is the U ready for such a change?
Committee invites Facilities Management and the Office of Classroom Management
to collect and present information/data on the usage rates for common use
classrooms, departmental classrooms, and other spaces it deems pertinent to the
discussion. The current classroom management system should be reviewed for
flexibility and responsiveness to teaching needs. The Committee will review
these data and proposed management plans.
University should consider adding a summer semester to improve space
Technology advancements have made it possible to change space assignments and
utilization. Is the U ready to reduce its fixed office space and move toward
more remote office work and generic office space for faculty and staff while on
office space is becoming the norm throughout the country in industry and
elsewhere. Cubicles with movable partitions are already the norm in many
University facilities. As remodeling and new construction is planned, this
approach should dominate. Traditional offices with doors should be the default
position for faculty members, given their role and responsibilities.
What suggestions do you have on how we can reduce recurring and necessary costs
to maintain buildings so that more funding is available for
described above are aimed at more efficient utilization of current space and
reduction of energy costs. These efficiencies should enable taking buildings
‘off line’ and closing space, furthering reduction in costs and
reducing the environmental impact.