Procedures & Timetables

Phases of Academic Space Development from Project Conception to Construction

The academic space planning process is coordinated by the Office of the Provost, and is the particular responsibility of the Assistant Provost for Academic Space Planning. Nevertheless, because the schools and colleges, centers, and institutes are the principal participants in the ongoing process, they assume the most significant roles.

The following is a general description of the early phases in the planning and construction process. In practice, the phases are not as neat and clearly defined as suggested in the following outline; they often overlap or depart from the expected track. Some steps may be simple in one project and very complex and difficult in another. Departments should keep in mind that as a project progresses, changes become increasingly difficult and expensive to implement. Therefore, the ability of the client to influence a project is highest during the early planning stages.

Department Chairs/Program Directors

The representative of a department chair contemplating a space renovation should first contact the office of the appropriate dean or Vice President to discuss the project and determine whether it must go to the SPACE Committee. Several items should be discussed, including the proposed use of the space in question, the assigned occupant(s) of the space, the physical layout of the space, any significant mechanical or infrastructure needs, (e.g., HVAC, upgraded electrical), the anticipated (unestimated) costs of the project (before estimates), and the source of funds.

Deans/Vice Presidents/Associate Provosts

The Dean/Vice President/Associate Provost will confirm that the project’s purpose and scope are consistent with unit and institutional goals, and decide generally upon a funding plan for the project. If there is no change of use, no modification to the physical layout, no significant mechanical needs, and the project is likely to be an expense less than $25,000 that will be funded by the department, school, or college, then review by the SPACE Committee is not necessary, and a request may be submitted directly to Facilities Management & Planning (see flowchart).

The Space Request Form

If the project must be reviewed by the SPACE Committee, a space request form is now developed. Each Dean/Vice President/Associate Provost has designated a representative who is authorized to submit SPACE requests via the Computer Aided Maintenance Management System (CAMMS). The authorized representative should contact the Assistant Provost for Academic Space Planning to discuss the development of a general case statement. Such a statement summarizes the project as the form moves through the process by describing briefly the following items:

  • the particulars of the need or opportunity facing the academic unit
  • the goals and priorities of the project
  • the performance criteria that will determine the need or value of the investment
  • the benefits that will fall to the University as a whole and to other academic units
  • the expected scale of the project
  • the financial and programmatic impact of the project

The next step is for the academic unit to develop a general space program. This document translates the general case statement into a list of every type of space that will be involved in the project, describing briefly its function, the necessary capabilities, and principal characteristics. The necessary quantities, such as the number of faculty members or students to be accommodated, or the necessary character of the space, or other salient features need to be identified in a general manner. This is also the time at which supporting factors are introduced, e.g., financial factors such as grant support. Additionally, the detail of the project must be investigated at this point. See the sample checklist of possible detail items. (On many small and intermediate projects, this information is self-evident, but careful analysis at the early stage is critical.)

At this point the Office of the Provost evaluates the space request document from the point of view of its fit with unit and institutional priorities, long-term plans, resources, etc. This evaluation may include comparisons with other institutions or consideration of widely accepted standards and practices. It may sometimes involve external consultants.

Upon request from the Office of the Provost, Facilities Management & Planning provides a site evaluation, feasibility study, and a preliminary budget estimate. Issues such as utilities, deferred maintenance in the area concerned, energy and resource conservation, parking, circulation, etc., receive explicit consideration at this stage. During this process, significant information should be added to the SPACE project form by the appropriate officials in Facilities Management & Planning.

The formal space request form, when completed, is submitted to the SPACE Operations Sub-committee for preliminary approval. Projects below a certain threshold (currently $500,000) may be approved by the Operations Sub-committee. Those between this level and a higher threshold (currently $1,000,000) will be submitted to the SPACE Committee for formal approval. Projects above the higher figure will be submitted to the SPACE Committee for provisional approval (approval to move to the next steps of formal program development, architect selection, and project budget confirmation).