ECS Space Guidelines

  • The intent of this document is to provide space use guidelines to assist in the allocation and administration of research and teaching space. As one of the College’s most valuable resources and critical assets of the long-term strategic plan, the guidelines encourage efficient space use in support of scholarly work.
  • Research and graduate education are central to the College’s mission. ECS is committed to providing sufficient space for active research and implementing efficient space use practices. Additional space and facility infrastructure to facilitate growth will be dependent upon the College’s ability to demonstrate it manages existing assets to its highest and best use.

Guiding Principles

  • Research and teaching space is best used as a shared resource.
  • Research space is categorized and allocated to support specialized areas of research and may be utilized by multiple research groups.
  • Space is to be dynamically allocated to activities that will best enhance overall scholarly, research and creative work.
  • The infrastructure needs of research, and capabilities of spaces, vary widely and will guide decisions on allocation.
  • Efficiency and utilization of shared equipment spaces will be regularly reviewed by the College as part of the annual space survey process, an RCM requirement.
  • As research and teaching spaces are in some cases interchangeable, ECS leadership will have oversight on conversion between the two types of space to best serve the needs of the College.
  • Changes in space allocation precipitated by new or departing faculty, new or completed projects, or frequency of space usage will be reviewed, communicated, and managed to maintain operational continuity as much as possible.
  • Space allocation is a shared responsibility and must be governed by a common set of values, be adaptable, and support the College’s strategy.


  • Research space needs will recognize higher priority for:
    • External and internal funded research activity
    • Prominence and impact of publication, public recognition, and community connections
    • Tenure-track assistant professors, all of whom carry expectations for significant research or creative work
    • Activity that trains graduate and postdoctoral researchers
    • Leadership roles in support of strategic research areas, clusters, centers, or institutes
    • Other College priorities

Implementation Process

  • The utilization and activity level of research space will be measured and reviewed through the following metrics:
    • Sponsored funding (external and internal) expenditure per square foot
    • Number of research positions supported (with either internal or external grants), graduate and undergraduate students, lab technicians and postdocs, per square foot
    • Type of research and equipment needs
    • Strategic investment
    • Grant activities of the principal investigator.
  • Research space utilization will be reviewed annually as part of the space survey process and on an as-needed basis.
  • If a space is deemed to be underutilized, it may be made available for reallocation, consolidation, or relocation minimizing disruption as much as possible. At which point the space will be made available to be decommissioned, neutralized (If necessary), and a candidate for renewal.

Instructional Space Utilization

Higher education facilities management associations typically recommend the use of two factors in evaluating instructional space utilization: the number of hours a room is used, known as the Room Utilization Rate (RUR), and how many people occupy the rooms when in use, known as the Seating Utilization Rate (SUR). These two metrics are represented as percentage (%) of capacity, which for the RUR is based upon 40.25 hours of available instruction time per week, and for the SUR is a function of the capacity (seats) of the room. The target classroom utilization percentage for both the RUR and SUR is 65%. These criteria reflect for-credit instruction use assuming the balance of the available time can be reserved for other uses such as set-up/prep, student use, meetings or small events.

Standard instructional spaces with a RUR below 50% are considered underutilized, and below 30% considered highly underutilized.

Teaching laboratories generally should have a RUR target of 50%.

Computer labs generally have an RUR target of 50% if they are made openly available when not in use. If not, then computer labs have the same target RUR as other instructional spaces, 65%.

  • Existing registrar classrooms in ECS-managed spaces will continue to be scheduled and maintained by Academic Affairs with ECS priority. Any remaining capacity will be made available to ECS.
  • Instructional space utilization is tracked by the Dean’s office.
  • To provide additional capacity to deliver the ECS curriculum, captive instructional spaces will be managed similar to registrar spaces. Spaces currently managed by the Dean’s office, or departments, will be given priority scheduling.

New Faculty Hiring Process

  • As part of the process of approving a new research faculty line, develop a lab fit-up budget, separate from required scientific equipment that may be part of the start-up package.
    • Develop preliminary proposal for square footage, location options, and renovation/fit-up scope.
    • Review co-location, collaboration, and core facility opportunities. Confirm facility capabilities.
    • Office, graduate student, and other support spaces
  • Validate space assumptions, location, primary equipment, support space, and known hazards with EHSS and CPDC
  • CPDC develops project charter documenting scope and budget
  • ECS reconciles renovation/fit-up budget with CPDC
  • ECS provides chartstring to fund lab fit-up
  • After approval, design and construction begins (depending on scope 3-12 months)
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