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 Tuesday, July 11, 2006 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


In the Spotlight with Jeff Lipton, Facilities Management

The architectural beauty of the Boulder campus is world renowned and our buildings often are viewed as the face of the university. In this series, "In the Spotlight," we ask CU-Boulder building directors to give us a behind-the-scenes look at the facilities and programs they manage - along with a glimpse into their personalities.

The final segment in this series features Jeff Lipton, retired executive director of the department of Facilities Management and currently part-time Director of Real Estate Services. Jeff played a key role in directing the campus Research Park initiative and our partnerships with public and private entities residing there, among many other initiatives that have shaped the look and feel of the campus. He retired in May after 32 years of service to CU-Boulder and he's back on campus to assist the athletic department in completing their new business plan and managing the real estate assets of the campus.

What are your past reflections and future predictions for CU's master plan?

When I first arrived at CU as a graduate student, the campus was much less crowded with fewer students, faculty, and staff. The campus population has grown by over one-third since then and the campus has greatly expanded, mostly through infill and expansions to existing buildings. Historically, the campus adds about 100,000 square feet of additional building space per year. Over time that really adds up, although each year the increase is hardly perceptible. One of the wonderful things about CU is that even with that level of growth the campus is as beautiful today as it was 30 years ago.

I expect that growth will continue into the future at a slightly slower pace and the emphasis will be on research buildings, as enrollment will be held relatively constant. The research space will be highly specialized and will help propel CU into one of the finest public research universities in the country, giving our students unique research experiences that will complement their regular instructional education. The development of new research facilities will also allow our research faculty and staff to be the best they can be and expand their already considerable research capabilities.

If money were no object, what would you like to see for the campus? How would you change the campus environment?

Funding is always challenging at CU. I am always amazed at what we are able to do with very constrained resources. If additional funds were available for facilities, I would hope they could be used to reinvest in our existing buildings and infrastructure. The campus has a very large backlog of deferred maintenance that continues to grow at a faster rate as our facilities continue to age and need repair and replacement.

It is always exciting to develop a new building. But there is rarely a ribbon-cutting opportunity when it becomes time to replace a sewer line or an electrical system. The campus has to find the proper balance between building new facilities and reinvesting in the old ones. It becomes self-defeating if we do not properly take care of what we already have.

There are relatively few changes I would make to the campus environment. CU should remain a great place to receive an education, a fun and safe place to hang out and grow, and a wonderful and enriching environment to work. We constantly beat ourselves up over the small inconveniences and imperfections of our campus and community. But we need to also realize that this place is one of the most wonderful places on earth to learn, work, and live.

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