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Space – totaling 5.6 million square feet -- is one of Tufts’ most valuable assets; however, it is not fully optimized when compared to peer institutions in higher education. In 2018, the Office of Strategy & Program Development led a strategic study to improve event and space management that included 120+ interviews with stakeholder across all four campuses, best practice research from third parties, benchmarking and interviews with peer institutions, and an analysis of Tufts current practices. Reserve Tufts, a comprehensive room inventory to simplify event planning and to track room utilization data, is one outcome of the study that is now in the process of being rolled out. The study also recommended the creation of a cross-school space governance committee to aid the University in achieving its space goals.

  • Fairness: To ensure space is allotted and used fairly throughout the University while balancing different space-use missions.
  • Utilization: To maximize utilization of spaces relative to school priorities through effective practices, policies, and if needed, physical updates.
  • Collaboration: To encourage collaboration and sharing within and across departments, schools, buildings, and campuses.
  • Transparency: To communicate to Tufts faculty, staff, and students the basis for space management decision making.
  • Consistency in Practice: To produce common practices for Tufts space management, where feasible.

Working toward these goals, the SPACe committee is responsible for both establishing and communicating space standards and use policies, for identifying common needs for space and, when necessary, for resolving competing needs for space across the University.

In early 2019, five guiding principles for space governance were presented to University leadership, including the Academic Council and the Faculty Senate, to inform the work of the SPACe committee. The guiding principles follow naturally from the above goals and will be applied in line with the policies adopted by SPACe*. Outlined below, these guiding principles will benefit the entire Tufts community through increased availability of rooms for courses and events and for the growth of academic programs.

  1. All Space is Owned by Tufts University: Space is a highly valued resource that is to be used efficiently to further the mission of the University. As articulated in the bylaws of the University, schools or other units or individuals cannot acquire, sell, lease, rent, or substantially change space without explicit permission.
  2. Space Has an Assigned Primary Function Defined by the Schools or Central Units: Tufts Schools pay Operation & Maintenance (O&M) expenses on their assigned space, which will be taken into consideration in all space-related decisions and in the development and application of space policies, standards, and practices. Additionally, traditional space use and the implications of donor contributions will also be taken into account.
  3. Space is Re-Assignable: Space is subject to assignment, reassignment, and redevelopment to meet the overall needs and best interest of the University. The Executive Capital Committee is the final decision maker for Tufts’ space with input from the SPACe committee that adheres to established policies.
  4. Space is to be Used Effectively: Everyone is expected to make efficient use of space. Units are expected to proactively anticipate future needs, to create flexible, functional spaces, and to welcome collaboration for increased efficiency and reduced costs. Periodic reviews of space occupancy and utilization will occur and may result in the reallocation of space to maximize use and meet University priorities.
  5. Space is a Shared Resource: To avoid duplication of space, equipment and staff services, space is to be shared whenever practical. Reservable spaces are to be made available to other units based on the policies established by SPACe.

*SPACe will develop proposed policies to present to ECC. ECC will then elevate policies for approval by the Academic Council in line with establish policy approval practices.

At the onset of SPACe, the committee will primarily focus on tasks 1-3. As the processes for space governance progresses, the committee will be able to devote additional effort to tasks 4-5.

  1. Space Strategy & Policy Development
    1. Develops overarching data-driven policies for recommendation to the ECC for approval (e.g., policies to guide the allocation of lab space, process for identifying potential space for grant applications or the flexible use of classrooms for courses and events)
    2. Develops space use standards that reflect the goals and guiding principles for recommendation to the ECC for approval (e.g., standards for office sizes in major renovation or construction, for classroom seat counts based on room size or locker provision and size)
    3. Resolves space use conflicts between units and schools and responds to questions about space
    4. As needed, reviews space use guidelines proposed by the Project Sponsor Groups (PSGs) for major capital projects to ensure that they are in keeping with SPACe policies*
  2. Outreach & Communication
    1. Provides local follow-up communications and enforces policies/standards
    2. Ensures that regular space use / utilization reporting reaches Tufts community by 2020
  3. Space Utilization & Inventory Data Analysis
    1. Requests space and space utilization data from Inventory Manager
    2. Uses data to inform policy and standard development
  4. Capital Planning
    1. Identifies future space needs or reductions for ECC consideration**
    2. Provides recommendations to ECC for potential future projects**
    3. Is consulted on capital decisions and major deferred maintenance projects, including being presented the proposed capital plan once a year
  5. Space Allocation
    1. Approves space requests (including allocation, other use) that are deemed appropriate for committee consideration by the co-chairs
    2. Allocation decisions occur at a departmental-level, and more granular decisions are left to local leaders
    3. As needed, reviews space allocation proposed by the PSGs for major capital projects

*The role of the PSG, whose chair is appointed by the President, is to provide high-level client direction to the staff and design team on a building project so that the mission objectives of the University are met. Its charge as the first steward of a major project will be to oversee the project’s adherence to the academic goals, financial program, and Tufts’ principles for strategic capital projects. This role encompasses providing guidance to the space program.

**Does not replace University Capital Planning process.