Mount Allison is working with a consultant whose expertise is in campus planning to develop an update to the Campus Master Plan.

The consultant, Educational Consulting Services Corp, is gathering information about classroom and laboratory utilization, building condition, and space requirements for a selection of academic buildings.

It delivered an update to the Facilities Plan Advisory Committee (FPAC) in January 2016.

Further research and community consultation is taking place and a preliminary report is expected in April 2016.

Highlights of the consultant’s update:

Classrooms

Mount Allison currently has 38 classrooms with total seating capacity of 1,974 for a student enrolment of 2,300.

Our classroom utilization is considered low — we currently have more classrooms than are optimal to serve our student population.

When rooms demonstrate very low utilization (there are 10, for example, used less than 20 per cent of the time) there are often issues with the quality of the teaching environment, the location, or restrictions on access to the room.

Classroom utilization
Based on a 45-hour week (8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday to Friday)

  • Average utilization — 46 per cent (Winter 2015); 40 per cent (Fall 2015)
  • Large capacity teaching space — Courses with enrolment greater than 150 students accounted for 11 hours of classes per week in Winter 2015 and 21 hours in Fall 2015
  • Seat utilization —12 per cent of Winter 2015 and 13 per cent of Fall 2015 classes were taught in rooms whose capacity matched the course enrolment, the remainder in classes whose capacity exceeded enrolment

An appropriate classroom utilization target is using 70 to 75 per cent of the available hours. To reach that target, the number of classrooms could be reduced from 38 to 25. A more achievable target would be to retain 30 high quality classrooms.

To reduce the overall number of classrooms, underused or poor quality rooms could be taken out of the classroom pool and repurposed.

The consultant also suggests:

  • identifying issues that are driving poor use of rooms
  • identifying rooms that are not accessible and assessing whether they can be upgraded to meet code requirements
  • developing a classroom planning strategy that provides a better match between capacity and enrolment
  • reducing the number of locations that require investment in upgrading and maintaining multimedia presentation systems
  • maintaining a consistent IT infrastructure design across all rooms


Laboratories

Mount Allison currently has 24 instructional laboratories with a total seating capacity of 667.

Laboratory utilization

Note: Given the exceedingly low utilization for some laboratories, the consultant has some concerns about the quality of the scheduling records and suggests utilization rates be validated by the department heads for accuracy.

Based on a 45-hour week (9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday)

  • Average utilization — 21 per cent (Winter 2015); 24 per cent (Fall 2015)
  • Day of the week utilization — An even load on Tuesdays and Thursdays and reduced use on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
  • The majority of science labs are scheduled during afternoon hours with limited and infrequent morning usage. This reflects current scheduling practices of having lab instruction in the afternoon following theoretical instruction in the morning.

An appropriate utilization rate for laboratory space is around 40 per cent.

Reaching this goal would require a change in scheduling practices so labs are not required to follow theoretical instruction on the same day. This would allow lab hours to be more equitably distributed throughout the day.


Space requirements

Space requirements were developed for classrooms, academic units, and related activities.

The report examined space requirements for:

  • Barclay
  • Dunn
  • Flemington
  • Avard-Dixon
  • Crabtree
  • Gairdner
  • Hart Hall

It found that in most cases, there is a large discrepancy between the recommended amount of space and the available space — with more space available than is needed.

However, the actual configuration of the buildings can limit the degree to which the space can be subdivided to meet the standard.


Planning directions

Goal

  • reduce the amount of space

Opportunities

  • Gairdner
  • Underused space in Crabtree
  • Underused teaching space in Flemington, Barclay, Dunn, and Crabtree

Approach

  • Match attributes to building characteristics
  • Make optimal use of capacity and characteristics


Proposed best uses by building

Note
Wet” uses refers to life and physical sciences uses — biology and chemistry labs, for example. Buildings suited to "wet" uses must be able to support enhanced mechanical systems such as adequate ventilation.
 
Dry” uses refer to classrooms, teaching and research (a physics lab, for example, could be a “dry” lab), academic offices, etc.

Barclay  

  • Best suited to “wet” uses


Flemington

  • Best suited to “dry” uses


Gairdner

  • Suited to “wet” and “dry” uses
  • Opportunity to accommodate activities that require large open floor areas, such as laboratories, on second floor

Crabtree  

  • Best suited to “dry” uses
  • Potential for library storage in the basement

Dunn  

  • Best suited to “dry” uses


Avard-Dixon

  • Best suited to “dry” uses


Hart Hall

  • Best suited to “dry” uses
  • Low density uses are the most viable — creating larger, column-free spaces would require very substantial rebuilding of the structure