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Articles: Facilities

Colby College's biomass plant.

Along with Colby, which has just over 1,800 students, College of the Atlantic (Maine), Green Mountain College (Vt.), and University of Minnesota at Morris have achieved carbon neutrality

For most colleges and universities, having students live on campus can provide a number of benefits, both in revenue and in classroom performance. So how can an institution maximize the benefits while creating an atmosphere that not only attracts a growing number of students, but also ensures that their experience is mutually beneficial? A comprehensive approach that emanates from the concept of providing improved value for the on-campus resident can have far reaching benefits for both student and school.

energy efficient solar panel

Increasing numbers of colleges and universities are making a commitment to foster sustainability on campus. This strategy aligns well with university missions that include public service, thought leadership and pioneering new technologies. But at the end of the day, the most compelling reason is financial. Energy makes up only a small percentage of a university’s operating budget (about 3.5 percent on average), but in terms of raw dollars, America’s colleges and universities spend almost $7 billion in energy and utilities.

campus energy dashboard

Do energy visualization dashboards really save energy?

In higher ed we often find that the pace of decision making can be snail-like. While not always a bad thing, it is symptomatic of what the Higher Education culture embraces—making sure all the right data is in place before making the final decision. Thus, efficiency in decision making can become challenging because the institutional environment requires collaboration and every mind requires a different level of data satisfaction, due in large part to individual perspective.

The campus student center may once have been the place students passed through on the way to their next class. But these facilities have evolved into bustling destinations that foster campus culture and community.

  • Young Harris College (Ga.) broke ground on a $41 million, 125-square-foot campus center in April. To be the largest structure on campus and completed in fall 2014, the project is the centerpiece of YHC’s master plan. It will house a multipurpose student center, a library, an expanded dining hall, and a banquet facility. Student-facing offices such as admissions and advising will be housed there. VMDO Architects (Charlottesville, Va.) is handling design. The general contractor is Choate Construction Company (Atlanta).

Transportation & Parking Services at Princeton University is committed to providing reliable, safe parking and transportation services that enhance the quality of life while promoting sustainability, accessibility and mobility on campus for the Princeton University community. For students, our focus at Transportation & Parking Services is to support campus life in a way that is pleasant and convenient; specifically to provide access to travel within campus, around campus, and off-campus.

A 46,000-square-foot abandoned furniture warehouse has been given new life as the continuing education and industrial center at Randolph Community College in Asheboro, N.C.


As with many community colleges, Randolph was in need of expansion due to large enrollment growth. Overflowing parking lots as well as classrooms in the machining program at the school led to an overhaul of the old Klaussner Furniture warehouse, located adjacent to the campus’ Health & Science Center and to Randolph Early College High School.

Clark Kerr, one-time president of the University of California system, once characterized the university as “a series of individual faculty entrepreneurs held together by a common grievance over parking.” It’s a lighthearted definition, but one rooted in truth.

  • A 20,000-square-foot newsroom with a 360-degree assignment desk as well as television, radio, and vodcast studios will be at the heart of Wallis Annenberg Hall, a five-story, 88,000-square-foot facility for the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. A four-story atrium will feature a multistory digital media tower showcasing student programming, social media, and live broadcast news. The $50 million building was designed by Harley Ellis Devereaux (Los Angeles) and is scheduled for a fall 2014 opening.

What will be the future NFC smartphone technology landscape on college and university campuses?

“The whole idea is that anything you can do today with a key or a card, tomorrow you will be able to do that with your phone,” points out Jeremy Earles, a product marketing manager at Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies, which partnered with Villanova University (Pa.) on its advancing NFC smartphone installation.

If NFC smartphone dreams come true this year as hoped, for many schools it will simply be a matter of turning the technology up on their existing card readers. Indeed, the use of smartphones enabled by near field communication is happening on some campuses and is a near-term reality for others.

NFC is a technology currently in use with many campus card systems to enable access control and transactions to pay for food, laundry, and other services. The trouble with the cards is that they are easily lost or forgotten and just aren’t as handy.

A number of dining service management companies have used guest chef programs to spice up the dining experience on client campuses.

Bob Sempek at Treat America says bringing in chefs from other colleges, as well as from some of the consulting company’s business and industry accounts, has generated enthusiastic response. Students get to watch visiting chefs prepare gourmet fare, while the chefs get to travel a bit and enjoy a change of scene.

Every dining services operator aims to maximize cost efficiency, and that means saving money as well as producing revenue.

At UMass, Dartmouth, combining full-service and self-service dining under the management of Chartwells, has helped to reduce labor costs and improve efficiency, according to auxiliary services director Jeff Augustine.

“We are getting a lot more hours out of our labor and services for our students than we did with our previous vendor,” Augustine says.