Published: May 1, 2019

CU Boulder’s Strategic Facilities Visioning project team is getting set to compile and analyze the insights generated by each of six Phase 2 scenario planning teams over the past three months as the initiative moves closer to development of a digital planning tool for facilities and infrastructure.

The scenario planning teams wrapped up their final working sessions last week, developing and testing future facilities and infrastructure options in relation to a variety of identified university requirements centered around the ever-evolving landscape of education and research and informed by the campus’s multiple strategic initiatives.

Strategic Facilities Visioning (SFV), which aims to create a framework for facilities decision-making for the next 30 years, has engaged more than 130 “visionaries”—faculty, staff, students and shared governance representatives from every college, school, research institute and major support unit on campus—in the scenario planning phase. While the initial deep-dive phase last fall aimed to gain a holistic view of individual program visions, the scenario planning phase has built upon those insights by reshuffling visionaries into interdisciplinary teams to look at key common themes that arose.

Scenario planning teams and their areas of focus included:

  • Future demographics: Develop and test scenarios around different student enrollment breakdowns and their impacts on space and facilities requirements across campus
  • Portfolio of pedagogy: Develop and test scenarios that investigate the relationship between different learning modalities and their impacts on space and facilities requirements across campus
  • Federated flexibility: Driven by academic units, student life and administrative functions, develop and test scenarios regarding the degree to which facilities and services can be shared
  • Research and innovation ecosystem: Develop and test scenarios that investigate the relationship between the diversity and growth of existing and new research areas and their impacts on space and facilities requirements across campus
  • Resilient asset management: Identify opportunities for infrastructure investments based on building condition and critical operational needs
  • Integrative facilities: Develop and test scenarios that investigate how different learning, research, service, auxiliary, community and external partnership functions can be integrated to create various forms and themes for development

Part of this work has resulted in identifying the core building blocks for future facilities—from learning, housing and administrative spaces to different types of research and specialized facilities—that will fuel student success and teaching and research excellence in the coming decades.

The SFV project team has been coordinating closely with the project leads of other initiatives like Academic Futures, Financial Futures, Foundations of Excellence and the IDEA Plan to ensure that the long-term course for facilities decision-making can support the collective visions and goals of these other vital efforts. The leads from each of the other initiatives have been involved in SFV as either executive committee members or visionaries, providing their input and perspectives from the start.

SFV’s ultimate goals are to articulate a strategic campus-wide facilities vision, identify opportunities for investment to support the vision, develop a planning tool to enable short-, medium- and long-term decision-making, and create the foundation for the next campus master plan due in 2021.

“As we listen to and collaborate with the other strategic initiatives, as well as process the productive conversations taking place among SFV visionaries, it’s exciting to start to get a sense for the opportunities that lie ahead and how we can support these visions through resilient and sustainable facilities and infrastructure,” said David Kang, vice chancellor for infrastructure and sustainability.

“Collaborative spaces, flexible learning spaces that facilitate multiple modalities for teaching and learning, easy access to critical student support services. All of these are among the values we’re seeing rise to the surface as we look to the future of our built environment on campus.”

When students and faculty return for the fall semester, the SFV team will report out on key findings from the scenario planning teams’ work. Over the summer, meanwhile, phase 3 vision strategy work will begin in May as the SFV project team utilizes findings from the deep dive and scenario planning phases to dive into digital development of the planning tool, establish key performance indicators for infrastructure requirements, incorporate space and operational standards, and perform a risk and delivery analysis.

The digital planning tool will take into account supply of space on campus, along with demand based on requirements of the university, to test future initiatives and opportunities. During the vision strategy phase, a tool development working group of key visionaries from several units on campus will begin developing the functionality of the digital planning tool, as well as how the tool will be utilized, managed and kept current with the most up-to-date campus data over time.

This will feed into the operations planning phase in the fall where the SFV project team zeroes in on refining the campus facilities vision and tool prototype. In parallel with the current Transportation Master Plan and Housing Master Plan efforts and the upcoming Energy Master Plan, SFV will inform the creation of the next Campus Master Plan, a process projected to begin in late 2019 or early 2020.

Stay tuned for progress updates in CU Boulder Today or visit the strategic initiatives webpage to learn more about each of the initiatives and to see schedules for town halls, meetings and other engagement opportunities. You can provide feedback on the strategic initiatives to the provost and senior vice chancellor by sending an email to