Articles: Facilities

Digital signage has existed on campuses in some form for decades. Originally, it was standard television sets embedded in the wall with a slow crawl of text showing campus news. Now, high-quality flatscreens display live TV, text, and information tickers all at the same time.

Like many who work in higher education, I love university traditions--the rituals, events, and stories that carry on and bind together each generation of students.

As high school, college, and NBA basketball seasons power up, we hearken back to one of the best sports movie of all time: Hoosiers. In the film, the small-town Hickory High basketball team is about to do battle with the behemoth South Bend squad for the 1952 Indiana High School State Title.

Very few--if any--components of campus life are as important to the institution as emergency planning. A college's reputation and, more importantly, the public safety and security of its campus community are at stake.

Over the past few decades, colleges and universities have engaged in a kind of facilities arms race to build new, state-of-the-art dormitories, dining halls, classrooms, athletic complexes, and fine arts centers.

"We're the new U." The tag-line is fitting for The University of North Texas at Dallas, which, in September became its own independent four-year university after a decade of being considered a branch campus of UNT in Denton.

Future Shock

So, what do the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, the State University of New York at Binghamton and Berkshire Community College have in common?

More than 300 students from five Kirkwood Community College (Iowa) programs study in state-of-the-art kitchens and classrooms, working alongside a 70-person professional staff.

For many campus building projects, the period following schematic design is critical to the project's future. With the proposed design illustrating the building's significant forms, program, functional relationships and scale, the project enters the fundraising phase.

Four feet of snow in a week might be awesome if you run a ski resort, but it causes havoc if you run a college or university campus. That is just the quandary campus leaders in the mid-Atlantic were dealing with in December 2009.

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