Maintenance & Operations (Managing the Physical Plant)

Master Plan Implementation

Bowling Green State University (BGSU) needed to change the campus footprint by downsizing the building inventory based on deferred maintenance costs while updating buildings that we determined to be important to changing the look of campus, related to the footprint and location of the building. In the end, we were shrinking the campus’ overall footprint, but in doing so, we were increasing the density of the university campus core.

The master plan targeted six underutilized buildings for demolition. The selections were based primarily on four metrics weighted by their importance to the teaching platform: the number of classrooms in a building, the percentage of the overall classroom inventory, the facility condition index, and campus location. Our planning model decision was to focus on four buildings in the academic core that reached the largest number of students and, in the end, improved retention and promoted increased enrollment while densifying the academic core of the campus.

Flexibility

Once the $200 million dollars of funding was secured, the revitalization of the Traditions Buildings was underway! First up was South Hall, a 1940s-vintage building which was considered for demolition. Fortunately, instead it was refurbished to provide shared classrooms and labs and an enlarged broadcasting studio. It is now called the Kuhlin Center, and houses our Media and Communications programming.

Next up, Moseley Hall, a multipurpose science building built in 1916, was gut-renovated into a multidisciplinary science facility with flexible classrooms that can support teaching in a variety of subjects. It now features eight flexible teaching labs, two specialty labs, and a 64-station chemistry lab. The Operations team can change and rearrange the furniture, allowing the space to be transformed from a teaching lab to an active learning classroom based on the classroom schedule each day.

University Hall, the first building to be constructed on campus in 1910, has been revamped into a student services building that includes the Admissions office; consolidates and improves access to strategic student services; and centralizes new state-of-the-art active learning classrooms, including four classrooms, two seminar rooms, classroom with 30 seats, and one larger room with 80 seats. In addition, we razed two buildings on the Traditions Quad to eliminate deferred maintenance and because the overall building footprint no longer met our needs.

We are currently in the process of renovating Hanna Hall, built in 1915. There will be a 50,000-square-foot addition on the east side, which more than doubles the size of the facility. This building has been renamed the Maurer Center and will provide three teaching labs, two active learning classrooms, and two high technology teaching labs for simulation, and a visualization lab.

Collaboration and Centralized Scheduling

Uniquely identified by the fact that all the renovated buildings, Moseley Hall, University Hall, and the Maurer Center are connected by a breezeway that allows students, faculty, and staff to better navigate and ultimately discover additional spaces. Our goal is to promote a sense of community and engagement for all building users, including glass on faculty offices, highly visible collaboration spaces, and break-out rooms that are adjacent to the teaching labs and classrooms. The availability of food and a type of “grab and go” option has also been developed and will be implemented in the College of Business.

In order to maximize the classrooms and teaching labs, the space must be managed by a central scheduling area as opposed to being managed and scheduled by departments. Using prototypes to showcase the active learning classrooms and teaching labs helped move the thought away from departmental-only use, and updating classrooms with new technology helped make the case. After the summer of 2019 classroom renovations, the active learning teaching platform with teaching labs and classrooms will be the norm on campus.

Farewell

I would like to thank everyone for taking the time to read my articles for CP&M; the articles have been a joy to write and, most importantly, have allowed me to be reflective of all the transformational work and the amazing changes taking place at BGSU. I also hope the articles have been informative. My new role here at BGSU as associate vice president is the opportunity of a lifetime and I am excited to have a role related to planning, design, construction, and operations. Our team here at BGSU is truly customer-focused on student, faculty, and staff success.

This article originally appeared in the November/December 2018 issue of College Planning & Management.

About the Author

Bruce A. Meyer, Ed.D., is assistant vice president of Campus Operations at Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH, appointed in April 2010. His team currently manages 5,000,000 square feet on a campus with over 20,000 students, faculty and staff.

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