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2016 Space Allocation Study

As a leading public research university, UT Austin takes seriously its charge to serve the state and its residents and to be excellent stewards of resources. Beginning in May 2016, we will be evaluating our physical campus, and working with staff, faculty, and students to determine whether current administrative and library space might be better allocated to serve our core academic mission and improve our operational efficiency.

Consultants will evaluate our University’s physical capacity in light of current and projected needs, and eventually develop plans that will improve work, learning, study, research, and meeting places for the University’s main campus now and for the future.

This study of space allocation across campus is fundamental to advancing excellence in education and research. Results of the study will help us determine how we can repurpose and reinvest in facilities to create more conducive environments for next-generation learning, as well as enhanced and interdisciplinary research. Cost savings is also an aim of this project.

Pat Clubb, Vice President for University Operations, is spearheading this effort and working with the entire UT Austin community to set the best conditions possible for institutional excellence in the 21st century. Input and cooperation from across campus is critical, and we appreciate the willingness of all units to contribute to this study, and to think creatively and collaboratively about our future.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

  1. What is the space allocation study’s scope and how should units expect to be impacted in the short- and long-term?

    Over the coming months, the University will be evaluating our physical campus, and working with staff, faculty, and students, to determine whether current administrative and library space might be better allocated to serve our core academic mission and improve our operational efficiency. Study of the library and administrative space begins in May 2016.

  2. Will the study focus on space currently utilized by the University’s administrative staff?

    Yes. The study will take approximately six months, and we will keep you informed during this process. It will provide an opportunity to review ways to improve the use of administrative space throughout campus, including off-campus sites, to maximize academic and research space. Also included is a review of library space.

  3. Will any colleges, schools, or units (CSUs) be impacted? For instance, my research work does not involve interactions with students – will my current academic/research space be reallocated?

    The study’s scope will focus primarily on administrative and library space.

  4. When will this study be conducted?

    Consultants will begin evaluating our administrative and library space this May. We should expect great benefits for our students, faculty and operations. Our students and faculty will benefit from enhanced learning, teaching and research space and our university administration will operate more efficiently and effectively.

  5. What organization(s) is the University working with on the project study and implementation?

    Jacobs, Inc. is teamed with Paulien & Associates to conduct the study beginning in May, and is expected to conclude in Fall 2016.

  6. Why now?

    Academic and research space needs continue to expand, and one of the University’s most valuable assets is our physical campus. The operations, maintenance, and construction of buildings is expensive, but also critical for the pursuit of excellence in our core public mission: To deliver the best educational experience to our students is the University’s highest priority and academic mission. Periodically, the University needs to review and assess its structures and administrative processes to ensure that we continue to operate efficiently and effectively within changing environments and growing needs or demands.

  7. Is this being aligned with, or a part of, Shared Services?

    No, this is not about Shared Services. The study’s scope will focus on reviewing collaborative, non-academic work environments and presenting solutions to utilize or improve current administrative and library space.

  8. How will the project’s timelines and processes directly affect the CSUs, if at all?

    In consultants’ interviews, CSUs’ respective leadership may be asked to provide some information related to space allocation within their units. No other impact may be determined at this early stage.

  9. How will the University calculate its ROI for this initiative?

    Enhanced education and research productivity will result in increases in state/global impact, economic development, and real dollars for the University, our faculty, and students. Return on investment will also be based on the financial savings that result from more efficient use and allocation space. For instance, results of the study may point to new ways we can repurpose and use current space to enable more efficient operations at a lower cost.

  10. Does the University know how it will determine whether current on-campus space is underutilized/misallocated?

    The study, once it is complete, will help determine how well on-campus space is allocated and utilized.

  11. In what ways will the University address logistics (telecommuting policy, offices, parking, etc.) for staff, faculty, and students potentially affected by the study’s results?

    The University expects to make decisions based on the study’s findings once it is completed. It is our goal to thoughtfully evaluate our physical campus while working directly with staff, faculty, and students to determine whether some of the current administrative and library spaces might be better allocated to serve our core academic mission and improve our operational efficiency. We are committed to working with the campus community to further explore new ideas to conduct our work more efficiently, and will consider innovative ways to better accommodate our staff so they may have the best opportunity to operate within modern work environments supported by enabling technologies.

  12. Where can we expect to find related updates or ask additional questions?

    Additional information will be posted on the University Operations website during the first week of May. Questions and comments can be shared through the feedback form.