You are here

Articles: Facilities

American higher education in 2016 faced increased pressure on performance. Colleges and universities were also being pushed to eliminate administrative and academic silos to help students of all ages and backgrounds succeed. Here’s a look back at what made headlines in higher ed this past year and how campuses responded.

MONUMENTAL DISPLAY AT COLLEGE—The Anaconda Wire and Cable Company monument at Chapman University is made entirely of materials from the industrial plant that used to stand where its film school is now located.

In a renewal of social consciousness in American higher ed, colleges are refining stories of their history told through statues, signage and installations on campus. Many are turning this into an aesthetic opportunity, with historically accurate, engaging content presented in ways that visually enhance and individualize the campus. The concept is known as ambient learning.

A facilities administrator from a suburban institution of 5,000 to 10,000 students says his department faces three challenging realities: increased pressure to reduce operation costs, diminishing resources and a rising deferred maintenance program.

TO SIGN AND PROTECT— At Columbus State Community College, police department specialist Stephanie Murphy (in red) and officer Brian Thomas (in uniform) get a lesson in American Sign Language from instructor Marie Potts,  who is hearing-impaired, as her interpreter looks on.

Stephanie Murphy, a security specialist with the Columbus State Community College police department, realized officers were having trouble communicating with one segment of the Ohio institution’s 26,000 students. 

Campus technology leaders report significant new investment to come this year in the area of academic tech tools such as lecture capture, AV equipment and active classroom initiatives. It’s the third year in a row academic technology led the list of top significant investments in a UB survey. 

Enrollment declines will be the most pressing concern keeping presidents and other top officials up at night in 2017. Seven in 10 who responded to a UB survey named it as the area with the greatest potential for causing the institution financial or reputational harm. State budget cuts, at 44 percent, are the next biggest worry for the 66 responding presidents, provosts and chancellors. 

Students Kylie Campanelli and Chad Marvin operate a hydroponic lettuce farm that lives inside an upcycled, 40-by-8-foot shipping container at Stony Brook University in New York.

Designed by the company Freight Farms, the hydroponic lettuce farm inside a shipping container at Stony Brook University in New York uses 90 percent less water than traditional growing methods to provide an acre’s worth of leafy greens to campus dining halls.

Students use farm-management technologies such as cloud-synced growth data and a smartphone app to control lighting.

After years of working with multiple food service vendors and local restaurants, Carnegie Mellon University brought fast-casual bakery chain Au Bon Pain to campus. The school’s first experience with a national restaurant franchise, it was a 12-month process from the brainstorming phase to opening the doors to hungry students.

More than 40 years after it was established, Title IX continues to pose compliance challenges for higher education institutions struggling with sexual assault investigations. Some say the federal government doesn’t provide enough guidance.

Ken Artin, is a public finance lawyer at Bryant Miller Olive. He can be reached at kartin@bmolaw.com.

There is a great need for infrastructure such as classrooms, student housing, dining and wellness facilities. Public-private partnerships (P3s) are a form of contracting between the public sector and private industry that capitalizes on the potential for private investment in a project, while sharing risk between the public and private partners.

When a trio of students at Christopher Newport University in Virginia wanted to start a program to collect leftover food from the dining halls each night and deliver it to a rescue mission, the director of the university’s dining services had some questions.

Drumming up support for a program where food service gives back can involve highlighting a prominent, well-loved individual within campus dining.

Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College in Minnesota, for example, named a food pantry after the school’s first housing director, Bruce Carlson, who died unexpectedly in 2010.

Dakota Wesleyan University's $1.2 million theater department will provide more versatile performance space. Manchester Community College at work on $9 million HVAC/electrical tech training facility. And community will share clinic space at Creighton University's school of dentistry.

Many colleges and universities are investing millions of dollars to repurpose or even expand libraries to make room for collaborative learning, technology centers, dining areas, research support and other academic services.

Incorporating the local: A four-story atrium in Salisbury University’s 224,000-square-foot, $117 million library features a grand staircase with the silhouette of Chesapeake Bay crabs that was designed to echo colors of the nearby ocean.

While 98 percent of librarians in a 2015 Gale/Library Journal survey wished for better communication with faculty, only 45 percent of faculty expressed the same wish.

This gap presents both a challenge and an opportunity for libraries to make a case for their usefulness to faculty, in both their teaching and scholarship.

To promote faculty use of the library, Salisbury University in Maryland created a dedicated Faculty Center, including comfortable spaces and conference rooms to foster interaction among professors and instructors across disciplines.

Pages