UH students, faculty and staff need and deserve up-to-date facilities that support modern teaching, learning, innovation and scholarship. Facilities and campus environments must be safe, sustainable and support 21st century higher education expectations and practices. The university’s facilities must be fully digitally enabled; flexible in use; maintainable at low cost; energy, water and waste efficient; and supportive of deep collaborations with partners across the state, nation and the world.
A facilities and space management strategy is critical to accomplishing these goals amidst the challenges of declining enrollment, which results in an increasing amount of space per student; funding shortfalls; and aging campus facilities systemwide. The University has a responsibility to maintain nearly 14 million gross square feet of physical assets across over 16,800 acres of land. To fulfill this responsibility, campus leaders must unify around the systemwide integrated academic and facilities plan that emphasizes an enterprise approach to prioritizing physical asset improvements and constructing new spaces. Creating and modernizing facilities through coordinating strategic planning with academic programs ensures that limited resources are focused on the highest priority spaces to yield the greatest overall benefit.
By focusing on ways to rethink space as University space, rather than departmental space, the institution can begin to repurpose and consolidate existing areas and create new, highly-utilized, multidisciplinary areas to support priority programs and address facility needs through flexible and adaptable space management. Not only will this foster interdisciplinary collaboration and communication, it maximizes the efficiency of both the capital and operational dollar. On paper, many of our campuses appear to have sufficient or even abundant classrooms. Yet, we often hear from faculty that there are not enough quality classroom and laboratory spaces, resulting in inefficient use of our space. To fulfill our commitment to 21st century facilities, it is more crucial now than ever to make calculated investments in facilities that support only those initiatives that advance the overall vision and mission of a systemwide university through multi-disciplinary, shared space programming.
21CF Action Strategy 1:
Adopt model policies and practices for development and management of UH buildings, campuses, and lands.
- Develop, adopt or adapt new streamlined, accountable, efficient and effective processes and organizational structures for construction, renewal and maintenance of facilities to include all phases from planning and procurement through project management and acceptance
- Develop comprehensive multi-year capital improvement plans for construction, renewal and modernization that minimize disruption to campuses, focus on designing spaces consistent with research on how learning occurs and move toward a holistic approach to facilities maintenance and renewal that aligns programming and facility needs
- Determine areas of under-utilization and the underlying reasons to address the cause of the problem and maximize efficient use of facilities and classrooms
- Reduce the inventory of low quality, under-utilized spaces by renewing, improving and modernizing facilities, removing space from the inventory and/or replacing it, if necessary, with right-sized, efficient and highly-utilized shared space
- Design flexible and adaptable space to enable the University to respond to changing needs and future requirements
- Develop a financial plan that responsibly leverages state and university financial capacities to execute capital improvement plans and meet ongoing operating, maintenance and renewal requirements
- Perform cost/benefit analyses to evaluate whether to renovate buildings with the highest utility and largest deferred maintenance or demolish and replace these buildings
- Develop and adopt policies around University and shared space to transform the current culture of departmental space ownership
- Determine and invest in areas of high utilization in response to program enrollment growth to strategically construct new facilities consistent with the multi-year capital improvement plan and campus strategic action plans
21CF Action Strategy 2:
Improve the sustainability and resource conservation of the built environment including facilities and grounds by reducing energy consumption, greenhouse gas production, water use and waste production.
- Implement full energy metering and monitoring of campus buildings
- Improve energy efficiency of UH campuses and facilities
- Increase the percentage of UH energy generated from renewable sources
- Reduce costs of energy consumed on/by UH campuses
- Improve the sustainability of campus grounds
- Track, report and minimize greenhouse gas emissions
- Re-invest savings and costs avoided from energy conservation and efficiency projects into sustainability projects
Productivity and Efficiency Measures for 2lst Century Facilities (21CF)
- Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) and operating investments in Renew, Improve and Modernize (RIM) (new)
- Monetize real property holdings through strategic partnerships (new)
- Efficient use of space (new)
- Progress toward net zero and energy efficiency (new)