This is an archived article.

November 21, 2002

Council is faculty’s voice on facilities


The Faculty Council on University Facilities and Services (FCUFS) has responsibility for policies relating to building needs, space utilization, supplies and equipment, administrative services, and parking and traffic. As part of the shared governance of the University, the Council meets twice per quarter to review and discuss facilities and services issues and provides recommendations to appropriate members of the University administration.

One of the major facilities issues facing the University is modernizing and structurally reinforcing many of the older buildings on the Seattle campus. The 2003–2005 capital budget request will initiate a long-term strategy for the restoration of our core campus facilities and reduce the backlog of deferred renewal and modernization. Fourteen major buildings are in serious need of modernization. The completion of the new law school during the summer of 2003 will make Condon Hall available to temporarily accommodate units relocated from space scheduled for renovation.

The first building planned for major renovation is Johnson Hall. An architectural firm has been selected for the project, and the University will be requesting construction funding in its 2003–2005 capital budget request. The anticipated scope of work for the building is seismic bracing, upgrading of all building systems, correcting accessibility and life/safety code conditions, and providing updated facilities for instruction and research programs. Construction will not start until funds are provided by the State Legislature.

FCUFS is working with the Capital Space and Planning Office and the Capital Project Office to select a consultant who will help the University develop a program for renovating other buildings on the Seattle campus. A University committee, including FCUFS members, is being organized to work with the consultant to develop a prioritized plan for managing the major renovation of the other buildings on campus.

Building renovations will be planned and conducted in a sequential manner. Building occupants will be relocated to Condon Hall while their building is renovated, and then return to the renovated spaces when the project is completed. The occupants of the next building to be renovated will then be relocated to Condon Hall to allow their building to be modernized. This process will continue until the 14 buildings have been renovated.

Current major construction projects on campus include the medical center’s new surgery pavilion, William H. Gates Hall (new law school), the IMA expansion, and the Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science and Engineering. Each of these projects is scheduled for completion by autumn 2003. The replacement for Merrill Hall (Center for Urban Horticulture) is under design with a construction start planned for the spring of 2003 and completion in the spring of 2004. A new Business School is in pre-design. It is to be constructed totally with private funds, the first privately funded building on campus.

Two major projects are in design for South Campus. A bioengineering building and a companion genome science building are being designed for construction along 15th Avenue Northeast south of Northeast Pacific Street across from the west campus parking garage. The two structures will frame a landscaped Portage Bay vista that will be developed between these buildings and the medical school complex and the oceanography building. Construction is planned to start in the autumn of 2003 and be completed by December 2005.

The role of FCUFS is to ensure that faculty have input into the location and design of all new facilities on campus. This is accomplished through involvement in the development of the campus master plan, site selection process, and design review. The council meets with project managers for new projects to discuss faculty concerns and provide recommendations. Another responsibility of the council is to review and approve any proposed placement of temporary facilities on the Seattle campus. Many of these are associated with construction projects on campus, but others are to meet the temporary needs of activities on campus.

FCUFS annually reviews the status of utility usage on campus. This represents a significant expenditure for the University, and the council discusses utility-reduction initiatives with the associate vice president for facilities and services. The University saved about $5 million in utility costs in 2001–2002 as a result of utility-reduction initiatives. Thermostats were lowered from 72 to 65 degrees, and lighting intensity was reduced in many buildings.

Shared governance works only when faculty members are willing to become involved in faculty councils and the Faculty Senate. Each council has different responsibilities, but all address issues that are significant to the operation of the University. Councils have wide latitude to shape their individual agendas and interact directly with appropriate members of the administration.

Service on a council is an educational experience, both in terms of learning how the University operates and meeting faculty colleagues from across campus. If you are interested in shaping policies relating to University facilities and services, I encourage you to volunteer for membership in the FCUFS when the secretary of the faculty asks for volunteers.

This is one of a series of columns about the work of the Faculty Senate councils. John Schaufelberger is chair of the Faculty Council on University Facilities and Services.