Why are you embarking on the Strategic Facilities Visioning process?

While the needs of a growing or changing program at CU Boulder might in some cases be clear, determining the best solution is rarely easy. Moving or expanding one program into a new building—or even renovating existing space—creates a cascade of follow-on decisions that must be made. Those include, but aren’t limited to, whether other programs must be moved, how deferred maintenance in aging facilities is addressed and whether programmatic changes are in order for certain spaces.

It is in this context that we’ll be engaging all CU Boulder colleges and schools, as well as auxiliaries and support organizations, to get a sense for their individual visions and how facilities translate into support for those visions five, 10, even 30 years down the road. What is the anticipated size of the student body? How many students will be resident on our campus versus learning virtually online? Where will programs be located? What types of synergies between different colleges need to be nurtured? What research and teaching trends will drive program needs?

Understanding what future requirements and opportunities exist will help inform the next 10-year campus master plan update. But doing so will also help us meet the needs of today—those that are most pressing—while aligning with the needs of tomorrow. It will help us take a holistic approach to meeting end-user requirements for future projects across campus. We’ll be better positioned to optimize the use of existing spaces; identify themes and functions for our main, east and south campuses; identify program priorities and inform deferred maintenance project prioritization.

Is this a master plan update?

No but it will inform the next campus master plan. The Strategic Facilities Visioning initiative is an effort that involves reaching out to departments from across the campus to collect their visions for where they see their programs 5, 10, even 30 years down the road. By taking a holistic look at projections for each program, we can assess the collective needs of the campus over time. This information will provide invaluable input as we craft the next campus master plan update.

What outcomes are you hoping to achieve?
  • Campus vision: Articulate a strategic campus-wide vision for an evolving educational and research landscape.
  • Investment opportunities: Identify opportunities for infrastructure, real estate and facilities investments to support the vision.
  • Scalable solutions: Identify change management initiatives to support the vision.
  • Planning tools: Develop methods to enable short, medium and long-term decision making.
  • Implementation strategy: Create the foundation for a campus master plan.
How will the efforts of Strategic Facilities Visioning align with other campus strategic initiatives like Academic Futures?

Strategic Facilities Visioning is aimed at creating a unified campus vision around space and infrastructure on campus, laying a framework for facilities decision-making for the next 30 years. The SFV project team has been, and will remain, in close contact with the Academic Futures team to ensure that this vision and framework support and align with the goals and vision for teaching and learning at the university that arise from Academic Futures.  SFV intentionally waited for Academic Futures to be sufficiently in front of our process to provide a framework for us to follow.

The SFV team has likewise worked closely with teams from Financial Futures, Foundations of Excellence and the Inclusion, Diversity and Excellence in Academics (IDEA) Plan to ensure our efforts align. The campus strategic initiatives website has more detail on how the efforts complement each other. 

Ultimately, the work of the Strategic Facilities Visioning team will culminate in the development of a data-rich planning tool that will help our campus leadership make the most meaningful and impactful infrastructure investment decisions in support of the campus mission and the strategic priorities emanating from Academic Futures. 

The university is also in the process of drafting new master plans for both housing and transportation. How will these planning efforts all align?

These two master plans, as well as SFV, are being undertaken concurrently, and will each provide valuable insights to be utilized and incorporated by the others. Ultimately, these three initiatives will all play large roles in the development of our next campus master plan in 2021.

How does Strategic Facilities Visioning overlap with the efforts around Space Utilization and Optimization?

The Space Utilization and Optimization effort continues to run in parallel with Strategic Facilities Visioning. The rollout of Archibus, a new software tool that will track space on campus, is in process. The data tracked by that tool will help the university maximize the use of campus spaces and improve campus leaders’ ability to make decisions about space allocation. New guidelines and policy around space allocation are also being created. Strategic Facilities Visioning, meanwhile, will take a holistic look at campus needs over the next 30 years to project what types of space are needed and how much so that we can create a unified vision for the future of space on campus. Fundamental to developing the vision is an effective use of all existing space on campus. To that end, the Space Optimization Director is on the SFV Tool Scoping working group and is providing valuable insight on how to integrate these efforts.

What data does CU Boulder have on how well our current spaces are being utilized?

The Space Optimization Office in the Office of Planning, Design and Construction is in the process of rolling out a new software tool (Archibus) that will help the campus better track the efficiency of space use on campus. The Registrar also tracks information on centrally scheduled classrooms and usage. SFV is in the process of identifying and assembling the various sources of space utilization data across campus.

What types of campus spaces will this initiative look at?

Strategic Facilities Visioning aims to analyze all types of facilities and space requirements on campus to ensure that future decisions are made with a unified vision for the campus in mind. The SFV process will assess priorities related to learning, research, student life, administrative and support functions.

How will students be involved in the Strategic Facilities Visioning process?

The SFV executive committee currently includes representation from an undergraduate in the CU Student Government (CUSG) and a graduate student in the United Government of Graduate Students (UGGS). Multiple students were also recruited to participate on each of the six Scenario Planning teams.

Why are no academic deans included on the executive committee?

The executive committee includes several academic leaders, including the chair of the Boulder Faculty Assembly, the associate vice chancellor for undergraduate education and the senior vice provost for academic resource management. Strategic Facilities Visioning has and will continue to engage all of the academic deans. SFV took deep-dive looks at the strategic plans and goals of each of the colleges and schools on the CU Boulder campus. Each of the deans, along with others from their respective colleges and schools, have been involved throughout the initiative as visionaries helping to shape our SFV outcomes. 

How will faculty be engaged with and updated on this process?

Bob Ferry, Boulder Faculty Assembly Chair serves on the Executive Committee in part as faculty representation. Additionally many of the visionaries that have been nominated currently hold or have held faculty positions. Responding to feedback and due to the size of the College of Arts and Sciences, the SFV team also expanded its Deep Dive listening sessions to include more Arts and Sciences faculty.

Will the City of Boulder be involved in this initiative?
  • Strategic Facilities Visioning is about taking a holistic look at the strategic goals and plans of individual units on campus to create a unified campus vision for facilities and the space needs of the university in the coming decades. It is an internal exercise that will inform our next Campus Master Plan update due in 2021. The SFV project team will keep city officials updated on the initiative as it develops. 
  • Drafting of the Campus Master Plan, which will more specifically define how the university intends to address facilities needs, will include a thorough public process that includes input from city of Boulder officials as well as community members. 
How will Strategic Facilities Visioning help the university prioritize facilities initiatives?
  • This tool will enable campus leadership to evaluate trade-offs for specific projects and planning scenarios and make informed, mission-aligned facilities planning decisions. 
How are campus colleges, schools and support units being represented in this process?

The leaders of each college, school and support unit on campus nominated “visionaries” from each of their units to represent them throughout the Strategic Facilities Visioning initiative. Most of the leaders are also participating as visionaries. 

How do the needs of support units factor into this process?

The mission of the university is education and research. To empower these academic pursuits, a small city of support units must be able to function smoothly and efficiently every day. Similar to the academic units, each support unit on campus has “visionaries” who have been nominated by their leadership to engage in the SFV initiative to ensure that their space needs are included in the holistic vision for the campus.  

Will Strategic Facilities Visioning examine restoration of aging spaces on campus in addition to new construction or major renovation?

Yes. A component of the tool we are developing will factor in the existing conditions of facilities. With an aging campus, deferred maintenance is an important consideration we will be including.