Space Planning

Volume 2, Chapter 2


Space planning is a process that coordinates academic programs with physical space over a specific period of time. The University's goal is to achieve the best use and organization of space to meet academic needs.


Staff in Facility capital planning offices prepare Facility-wide space plans. Space plan development is a continuous process and consists of a series of analyses, spreadsheets, reports, graphics, and other documents that are not necessarily compiled into a single document called a space plan. There is no required format for submission of the space plan. However, as space plans form one of the primary methods of justifying capital improvement projects, verification of space planning is an important component of project documentation. Space plans can be presented to the Office of the President in several ways: Facility staff present the documentation to Office of the President staff at annual visits, as supporting documentation in Project Planning Guides, and in conversations that explain the selection of projects included in the Capital Improvement Program.

2.1.1 Overall Objective

A Facility must determine its long-term space objectives regarding the location of programs and the ultimate use of buildings. Possible objectives might include:

  • Each major discipline (e.g., biological sciences, engineering, social sciences) has its own building.
  • Classrooms are within a 10-minute walking radius and are located on the lower levels of buildings.
  • Faculty and academic offices are in buildings separate from research activities but next to classrooms.
  • Back-office administrative activities are located outside prime academic areas or off-site.

2.1.2 Building Status and Potential

The space plan delineates how space is currently used and how current usage deviates from the overall objective of the Facility. The plan also considers the reuse of buildings and estimates how much new space is required.

2.1.3 Program Requirements

The space plan considers which programs are expanding, which are downsizing, and which need to be consolidated. The space plan also takes into account the programs that are the Facility's highest priority, the amount and type of space required for those programs and when the space is needed.

2.1.4 Possible Approaches to the Space Plan

Facilities do several types of studies in order to develop a space plan. Examples of these are:

  • Threshold analysis when projected enrollment in a priority discipline or program reaches a certain threshold, new space is built.
  • Domino analysis the sequence of events that needs to occur to meet the overall objective is determined.
  • Additional studies additional studies are conducted to support or modify the plan of action, such as utility, circulation, and seismic studies.

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