James Madison University has grown rapidly in the last 15 years from 8,817 students in Fall 1980 to 11,927 in Fall 1995. The Fall 1996 enrollment is expected to exceed 13,000. Growth of this magnitude places enormous stresses on an institution to use its space wisely. The university has experienced rapid growth in its physical plant to try to keep up with this enrollment growth; however, rapid growth has at times strained all facilities, especially in the academic areas.
Since the public has been asked to spend more than $60 million dollars in general fund money for capital outlay since 1980 at JMU, demands have risen for accountability for the wise use of resources. SCHEV is increasingly looking at how well publicly funded higher education institutions use their space. In fact, the State has tightened its criteria for justifying new space, and SCHEV will in the future review space utilization data to determine how efficiently new space is used.
Increased enrollments at JMU are taxing the use of academic space, necessitating a much closer inspection of when and where academic space is used for instruction. This is particularly true because of the unexpectedly large freshman class in Fall 1996. A major concern is when and where can these new students be housed and taught.
Several guiding research questions were developed to gather information to help the JMU community understand how the university has grown and how efficiently it uses space. These guiding research questions are presented below:
The Office of Institutional Research maintains JMU's official institutional space profile. Annually in October a file of space profile information is sent to SCHEV. This profile contains information such as building code, room number, room use code, function code (instruction, research, etc.), and square feet. Every other year OIR sends a room utilization file to SCHEV. This second file is used by SCHEV to learn how efficiently all institutions are using their instructional space.The information in the inventory was used to generate tables about space assignments by type of room and division.
The JMU Student Information System (SIS) contains information about the courses taught by session, day, and time. This information for Fall 1995 was extracted from SIS and used to analyze space usage. Each department was allowed to update its list of course sections offered and times when the rooms were not available due to activities such as lab setup and takedown.
The information in this file was then used to generate a table and graphs of space usage by day and time. This file was also used to determine how efficiently the space was used by day and time. All data were analyzed using Microsoft Access © and Microsoft Excel ©.
The results of this study are presented below and are organized by the guiding research questions.
Institutional Space Profile,
Fall 1980 and Fall 1995
Type of Space
|Assignable Square Feet, Fall 1980||Assignable Square Feet, Fall 1995|
|Special Class Laboratory||31,300||61,048|
|General Use (Other Instruction)||39,754||43,995|
|Research Faculty Office||860||947|
|Non-Class (Research) Laboratory||6,887||23,253|
|Extension & Public Service Office||767||6,103|
|Administration and General Office||26,784||68,010|
|Non-Office Extension and Public Service||4,758||6,190|
|Non-Office Administrative and General||15,074||27,496|
|Total Educational & General||510,760||740,497|
Table 1 shows the changes in the amount of assignable square feet since 1980. Some of the changes are due to coding changes between the two years. For example, some of the ways laboratory space was coded changed. In 1995 a significant amount of physical education space was recoded to be Auxiliary Enterprise (Intercollegiate Athletics) space, but the space is still used as needed for physical education. Total Educational and General space increased by 45 percent and Auxiliary Enterprise space increased by almost 35 percent. Educational and General square feet per FTE student increased from approximately 62 to 67. Space which can be scheduled for instruction (classroom, laboratories, and other instructional space) increased by 29 percent. Library space increased by 138 percent. The Phase I academic building on the CISAT campus is expected to have approximately 30,000 assignable square feet of instructional space in more than 26 classrooms and labs, which should eliminate some of the stress on space. These classrooms and labs will accommodate more than 560 seats.
Table 2 shows the total rooms and amount of square feet controlled by each division. As would be expected due to the large number of students housed by the university, the Division of Student Affairs controls the most space. This is followed by the Division of Academic Affairs.
Total Rooms and Square Feet Controlled by Each Division,
|DIVISION NAME||NUMBER OF ROOMS||SQUARE FEET|
|Administration And Finance||301||94,660|
|Integrated Science and Technology||222||52,651|
Higher education institutions are like small cities. A wide variety of space must exist on a campus to enable the institution to carry out its mission. The Office of Institutional Research inventories each space. Each type of space in the inventory is coded with a unique room use code. Table 3 shows the room use code, the room use definition, the number of rooms and assignable square feet by type of space.
Number of Rooms and Square Feet
by Room Use Code,
|ROOM USE CODE||ROOM USE DEFINITION||ROOMS||SQUARE FEET|
|215||Class Laboratory Service||76||14,418|
|225||Open Laboratory Service||96||11,054|
|255||Research/Non-class Laboratory Service||7||808|
|355||Conference Room Service||9||592|
|430||Open-Stack Study Room||15||59,400|
|520||Athletic Or Physical Education||26||107,840|
|523||Athletic Facilities Spectator Seating||3||18,348|
|525||Athletic Or Physical Education Service||101||48,576|
|535||Media Production Service||22||3,794|
|575||Animal Quarters Service||6||1,147|
|590||Other (All Purpose)||10||2,407|
|635||Food Facility Service||77||27,586|
|685||Meeting Room Service||23||2,765|
|710||Central Computer Or Telecom||6||2,758|
|715||Central Computer Or Telecom Service||6||1,523|
|735||Central Storage Service||1||288|
|745||Vehicle Storage Service||4||4,483|
|755||Central Service Support||10||1,804|
|835||Nurse Station Service||5||200|
|860||Diagnostic Service Lab||1||64|
|870||Diagnostic Service Lab Support Service||6||157|
|910||Sleep/Study Without Toilet or Bath||1,156||330,401|
|919||Residence Hall Toilet Or Bath||224||35,836|
|920||Sleep/Study With Toilet or Bath||674||190,120|
Table 4 shows the number of sections in classrooms or laboratories by day and time period each section is in session. The number of sections is the sum of sections fully meeting during an hour block and those meeting partially during a block. For example, if a class meets during the first half hour, it gets a .50 for that hour. The data show that 66 percent of the sections occur 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., and that Friday is not nearly as busy as the other days of the week. Since headcount enrollment is expected to grow by more than 1,000 students between Fall 1995 and Fall 1996, approximately 200 new sections will be added to accommodate the students. It would appear from these data that additional sections would have to be added either earlier in the morning, at noon, or later in the afternoon.
On Friday an interesting phenomenon occurs. Only about half of the total sections offered on Wednesday are scheduled for Friday. Analysis of the data found that more than 170 three- or four-credit courses meet on Monday and Wednesday only for 75 minutes, the normal Tuesday and Thursday time block. More than 120 of them meet on Monday and Wednesday between 12:00 and 5:00 p.m. This explains why so few classes meet on Friday afternoons as compared with the rest of the week. Some of the reduction in Friday sections is due to the fact that 50 sections meet on Monday and Wednesday because the credit hours of the courses do not necessitate meeting on Friday.
These findings are not much different from other institutions.
A group of JMU staff visited the University of Virginia in June,
and found that UVA's class meetings followed a very similar
pattern. However, JMU class utilization rate is much better than
Number of Sections in Session
by Time Period and Day,
Sections Using Rooms By
Day, Time, and Room Type *,
* These tables show utilization rates by three major types of space.
Table 5 displays classroom utilization by day and hour for the three major types of scheduled space. The purpose of Table 5 is to show how often space is used during any time period and to compare it with the number of available rooms of that type of space. For example, on Mondays 103 out of 119 room hours are scheduled between 10:00 and 11:00. This does not necessarily mean that the 17 classrooms were completely available between 10:00 and 11:00 because there may be a misfit between the needs of a particular section (number of seats, special equipment, etc.) and the room specifications. Frequently a classroom could be used if it were configured correctly for the class. This is the type of scheduling problem that the bulk classroom scheduling program SCHEDULE 25 is designed to reduce.
Table 6 displays utilization percentages for room utilization
by room type and time. The percentages were calculated by
dividing the number of students in a class by the total available
seats, as determined by the official room inventory kept by the
Office of Institutional Research. Sometimes a room has more
students than official seats because unfixed seats sometimes
"move" between rooms as needed by a particular class.
The results show that more than two-thirds of all seats were
filled for each type of space. Again, maximum utilization
occurred between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
Percent Utilization by Room Type and Time,
At a fast growing institution like JMU the acquisition of facilities and efficient use of these facilities is a primary concern. This is especially true as the university grows by more than 1,000 students between Fall 1995 and Fall 1996. This study of facilities at JMU focused on how much space was added since 1980, who controls space, what types and how much space are currently in the inventory, and how instructional space was used weekly during Fall 1995. Below are the major conclusions of this study.
Because instructional space is at a premium, and SCHEV's formulas for justifying additional space have become even more rigorous, the university must explore ways to enhance the efficient use of instructional space. The university plans to implement an automated classroom scheduling program, SCHEDULE 25, beginning with the Fall 1997 session. Reports from other institutions and the vender indicate that this program can improve the utilization of space by 10 percent or more. JMU representatives viewed this program at the University of Virginia in June and were quite impressed with its capabilities. Also, SCHEV staff indicated that they will strongly "encourage" all publicly funded institutions to purchase this program and report space utilization in the format used by this program. SCHEV is negotiating a bulk purchase agreement for this program.
It can be reasonably concluded from this study
that JMU is an efficient user of its space. There is
instructional space which can be scheduled for the new sections
which must be offered in 1996-97, but not at times which have
been traditionally scheduled as highly. Growth in total space has
kept up with enrollment increases so far, but instructional space
that can be scheduled has not grown as fast as some other types
of space. The enrollment increases expected by 2000-01 will
severely stress the use of all space, especially instructional
classrooms and residential facilities. The completion of the
Phase I academic building on the CISAT campus in Fall 1997 will
help, but it is essential that the other academic buildings
planned be approved and constructed as quickly as possible.
Instructional Space by Division
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