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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Space Evaluation

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The elements of quantitative analysis focus on the University's mission and direction, enrollments, and student weekly contact hours. Space shortages are uncovered through numerical assessments, which determine, by applying a benchmark guideline, how much space should be allocated for a particular space type or function. The space types are organized into the following major categories that comprise instructional and non-instructional space:

  1. Classroom/Lecture/Seminar Rooms
  2. Classroom Labs
  3. Independent Study Labs
  4. Departmental Offices
  5. Departmental Research
  6. General and Special Use
  7. Library
  8. Physical Education
  9. General Administration
  10. Public Service
  11. Organized Activity
  12. Organized Research
  13. Assembly and Exhibition
  14. Student/Faculty Services
  15. Student Health Services
  16. Instructional Resources
  17. Electronic Data Processing
  18. Campus Services

Higher education space guidelines originally evolved from multi-campus State systems (i.e., SUNY, California, Texas). Typically, these guidelines, or standards, provide a top/down allocation of space. Applying top/down standards, however, do not always fit well and can be problematic, depending upon factors relevant to each particular campus. Unique campus -specific characteristics have an impact on the type and size of facilities a university must provide its students.

  1. Classroom Space

    Included in this category is all general purpose (or interdisciplinary) classrooms used for scheduled instruction requiring no special equipment. Room types that fall under this description include: classrooms, lecture halls, seminar rooms and support space. The calculation assessing current need is FTES driven and the guideline formula is as follows (using English as a sample calculation): An English undergraduate FTES is based on 15 credits. For a typic al lecture based department, such as English, this means an equivalent number of weekly student contact hours. The calculation is based on the guideline goal for a classroom station size, which is 16 square feet divided by the weekly contact hour goal per station. That number is 24.

    16 NASF/24 Wkly. Student Contact Hrs. = 2/3 NASF per Wkly. Student Contact Hr. To convert into square footage per FTES, the contact hour total of 15 is then multiplied by the 2/3 NASF per weekly student contact hour.

    2/3 NASF x 15 Wkly. Student Contact Hr. per English FTES = 10 NASF

    The problem with this approach is the future. Actually this problem exists whether the NASF factor per FTES is utilized or the underlying station sizes and contact hour goals are utilized. What if English is not going to be taught entirely within a classroom? Even if the college currently teaches all its English in a classroom presently, the recruitment of new faculty will result in the "migration" of courses, particularly compositional courses, from the classroom into a computer environment. This is important to track because computer labs are designed anywhere from 24 to 38 NASF per station, a substantial gain over the 16 NASF per station for a classroom. This gain would also result in more resources to support the English Department.

    The College's inventory shows a total of approximately 81,810 NASF in classroom space and 1,836 NASF of classroom service space. Typically, service should constitute approximately 5% of the major space type it represents.

    The table below is a summary of the College's current stock of classrooms and actual stations, as identified in the master plan inventory. The master plan inventory shows the total amount of classrooms to be 110. Small classrooms represent almost half of the total space, at 49%, while rooms with greater than 100 stations, at 5%, represent a very small portion.

    Total No. Total No. Total No. Total No.
    Total No. Sm. Classrooms Med. Classrooms Lg. Classrooms
    Clsrms/Lec (20-40 stations) (41-60 stations) (61-100 stations) (<100 stations)
    105 50 40 9 6
    Percentage 49% 38% 8% 5%

    General classrooms will continue to be appropriate for the traditional lecture format, but should be flexible enough to incorporate evolving technologies. Faculty is adapting to new technology and will require that even the basic classroom be flexible enough to accommodate either format.

    The first step is for the College to establish a classroom mix that will best support its course schedule as well as accommodate new teaching delivery methods and trends in learning. Classroom studies serve as effective tools from which the College can determine optimal station counts, fill rates and utilization patterns to assess the appropriateness of its existing classroom mix. However, before these studies can be initiated, the College needs to verify existing classroom and station counts as they currently appear in the physical space inventory.

  2. Class Labs

    Included in this category are instructional labs and support, open labs (such as computer labs) and support, and individual study or work labs and support. The teaching laboratories are based on student FTES.

    The departmental standards that rely on apportioning the weekly student contact hours between lecture and lab are obviously more complicated than English.

    Assume 11.8 of the 22 contact hours per Biology FTES occur in a lab (and the remaining 10.2 of the 22 contact hours occur in a lecture/classroom.

    Space Guideline assumption for Biology lab station size = 60 NASF per Station Space Guideline goal for usage of a lab station = 19.2 Wkly. Student Contact Hrs.

    60 NASF/19.2 Wkly. Student Contact Hrs. = 3.13 NASF per Wkly. Student Lab Contact Hr.

    Once the space per lab station per Wkly. Student Contact Hr. is determined, it can then be converted into space per FTES by multiplying the NASF per Wkly. Student Contact Hr.

    3.13 x 11.8 = 37

    The inventory identifies 134,048 NASF in instructional lab space. In cases where a room has a dual or multi-function purpose, it is the primary function of the room that determines its category. The teaching labs at Mankato have a space shortfall of 58,025 NASF.

  3. Departmental Offices

    The assessment for instructional space includes staff and facility space that are shared among the departments as well as space that is specifically dedicated to individual departments. Elements of the evaluation that are dedicated to individual departments are the faculty office space, including necessary staff, conference and ancillary support spaces. The faculty office space is based on faculty headcount, with guidelines suggesting 120 NASF for each faculty and 180 NASF for each Chair.

    The room features in the inventory do not specify Chair's offices.

  4. Research

    The research space is based on headcount for both faculty and student. The faculty headcount is based on data given by the College and the student headcount is based on students currently enrolled within research courses offered by the College. Current research space shows a deficit of 20,505 NASF.

  5. General & Special Use

    Included in this category are spaces dedicated to departmental assembly sites, greenhouses, animal facilities, and special equipment rooms. These spaces are generally shared by two or more departments. A total of 7,888 NASF falls into this category.

  6. Library

    Library assessment is based on space needed to accommodate collection size, reading and study rooms, study stations or study booths and similar rooms that are intended for general study purposes. Study stations may be grouped (as in a library reading room) or individualized (as in a carrel). Also included is space for processing rooms, administration and study support (such as archival rooms). The calculation for volumes is based on a factor that is applied to the total (the collection size at Mankato is assumed to be 900,000). The seating space is FTE driven (5 NASF per undergrad and 6.5 NASF for grads).

    The inventory identifies approximately 172,867 NASF for the Library. A portion of this space that is being reconfigured for Information Services is currently offline and needs to be included in the assessments for both the Library and EDP (Information Services is categorized under Electronic Data Processing).

    The Library at Mankato is faced with a unique challenge. First, it is a facility that must accommodate both the undergraduate population and the graduate population-each having different needs. The undergraduates rely on the amenities offered while the graduates rely more on the collections. Second, since it is losing space on the third floor to Information Services, the Library needs to reevaluate (and possibly reconfigure) its existing space to maximize utilization and make it a central destination for both undergraduates and graduates. Third, the Library must determine how much of its present collection space is digital and how much will be converted to digital in the future. Given the nature of technology, the Library should be studied further to provide a better understanding of the level of resources that should be committed to print versus on-line media.

    The Library should be the central destination point for students. A program study would determine how to effectively remedy the space shortage and make various improvements on the quality of the space such as:

    • creating additional space required for study including group study rooms;
    • creating a link from the Library to the Student Union;
    • creating gathering and communal space;
    • moving archival storage to another site (with 24-hour retrieval).
  7. Athletics/Physical Education

    The elements that are considered in the assessment include all major facilities, such as gymnasiums, basketball courts, handball courts, squash courts, wrestling rooms, swimming pool, seating, multi-purpose rooms (exercise, fitness and free weight rooms), ice rinks, indoor tracks and field houses and all ancillary spaces needed to support the major facilities. Ancillary space includes equipment and other storage areas, showers, locker and laundry rooms , coaches and staff rooms, ticket booths and dressing rooms.

    The inventory identifies approximately 142,687 NASF as existing space for physical education. The program for the Taylor Arena is included in the calculation for future space.

  8. Administrative Offices

    General Administration includes those spaces dedicated to professional staff, such as the President, the Vice President, General Counsel, Human Resources, University Advancement, Admissions, Financial Aid, Registrar, Dean of College, Dean of Studies, Provost, Planning & Research, Public Relations, Career Development and all technical and clerical staff, as well as ancillary space, to support the administrative functions. Typically, industry guidelines allocate 8 NASF per FTES to determine appropriate administrative office space.

    The College's physical space inventory identifies approximately 54,855 NASF for Administrative Offices, an amount that is significantly low for an arts and sciences college of Mankato's size.

  9. Public Service

    Public Service is a unique category. Many colleges host a variety of programs that are grant sponsored and supported by local municipalities, their State or the Federal Government. Sometimes these programs have an internal focus, providing necessary services to the college's students. Other times they have an external focus, supporting the community in which the college is located. The space needs for public service are primarily offices and the allocations are standard administrative staff spaces.

    The programs at Mankato that fall in this category are the TRIO Programs: EXCEL, Upward Bound and Educational Talent Search.

  10. Organized Activity

    This category is a soft element of a space assessment and consists of space for enterprises conducted primarily for the purpose of providing (professional) training and experience and experience for students (e.g., clinics). Some colleges have demonstration schools connected with their education departments and agricultural and technical colleges may have farms. Most often these units operate as separate administrative entities but are directly related to an instructional department. Although they may serve the public, they are considered organized units. 12,201 NASF is identified for Organized Activity. Included in this category are the Children's House, the Armory, the Speech and Hearing and Dental Hygiene Clinics.

  11. Assembly and Exhibition

    Includes theatres, auditoriums, concert halls, arenas and gathering rooms for general use by students and the public. Seating areas, stages, and ancillary services are included in this category. Assembly facilities may also serve instructional purposes to a minor or incidental extent. Exhibition space includes galleries, museums, seating and support spaces, which serve as an extension to exhibition space.

    The inventory shows a total of 52,357 NASF for this category.

  12. Student/Faculty Services

    Includes auxiliary food facilities, student lounges, faculty lounges, meeting rooms, health services (infirmary, clinical and health services administration), student organizations space, student commons areas and merchandising space.

    The inventory shows a total of 118,541 NASF dedicated to Student Faculty Services.

  13. Electronic Data Processing

    Includes those spaces dedicated to computing network, equipment and production systems, user services and administrative support.

    The inventory shows a total of 11,606 NASF currently dedicated to EDP. The College's Information Services Department will be vacating its current quarters on the first and second floors of Morris Hall and moving into the Library. The amount of space that will be occupied by the Department needs to be confirmed for purposes of evaluating the future space calculations.

  14. Instructional Resources

    Included in this category are spaces that are dedicated to support core facilities, such as graphics/photo labs, A/V equipment and materials, TV/radio distribution, media shops, storage, instructional development (offices and work rooms) and associated administrative space.

    The inventory shows a total of 11,071 NASF dedicated to this category.

  15. Campus Services

    A total of 46,675 NASF refers to those spaces dedicated to building services, facilities services, office services, purchasing and stores and safety and security. Ancillary space is allotted for all functions that support the activities of each of the departments (such as maintenance shops and garage, equipment storage, lockers, print shops, mailroom, receiving dock, etc.)