Instructional Facilities Utilization Standards and Process

Instructional facilities are defined as classrooms, seminar rooms, instructional laboratories, computer laboratories, on-campus clinics, cybraries and other spaces used principally for the purpose of delivering formal instruction to our university students.

The issue of classroom and instructional facilities planning and utilization continues to be a contested discussion on our campus. SUNY administrative staff have observed that we have sufficient classrooms for our instructional workload. On the campus, following the principle that we will maximize utilization across the time in a weekday and across all class days, we are able to seat requested course sections in our available space. But, it has been expressed that we have insufficient classroom space for the appropriate scheduling of the courses we offer our students. What complicates our efforts is a mixed approach to the management of our classroom supply where supply is managed both in our central scheduling office and within the space inventories of academic units. The campus does not have a comprehensive understanding about its total classroom inventory and the current and historical utilization of that total inventory.

As an effort to address this current state, we should implement the following approaches for the management of our instructional facilities:

  • Identify all spaces in the campus space inventory that conform to the above definition and the Space Management Officer responsible for these spaces
  • Require each Space Management Officer managing instructional facilities to submit utilization reports for the past three years
  • Evaluate both central and unit classroom utilization compared with the standards as described below and determine under/over supply of instructional facilities
    • Classrooms - .55 assignable square feet per weekly student contact hour. 80% of stations in rooms should be used at least 30 hours per week
    • Teaching Labs – Achieve utilization of 25 Weekly room hours at 80% station occupancy with labs built to the following specifications for each of five teaching lab discipline groups at all levels of instruction
Discipline Group 1 2.000 40

Education, Economics, Law, Languages, Library Science/Informatics, Mathematics, Social Sciences (unless otherwise noted), Environmental Studies

Discipline Group 2
3.000 60
Biology, Communicative Disorders, Psychology and the basic science and clinical disciplines in the health science
Discipline Group 3 3.750 75
Discipline Group 4 4.500 90
Engineering, Physical Sciences, Visual Arts
  • Determine future utilization plans and facility needs based on changing enrollment assumptions utilizing these standards. Utilize these standards as well to monitor and evaluate actual vs. planned use over time
  • Implement the following procedural elements to more effectively manage classroom utilization:
    • Evaluate the possibility of managing all classrooms as general assignment spaces to be scheduled by University Scheduling Office rather than by individual units or suggest some other method that ensures maximal efficient use of instructional facility space
    • All lecture and discussion sections are to be held in general assignment classrooms and in standard time blocks unless an exception is granted
    • Space Management Officers (or their designees) must approve classes being held in other than general assignment classrooms and in other than standard time blocks
    • Class time blocks may need periodic revisions
    • Class Lab /Clinic/Studio Space Utilization
    • Class labs are assigned and scheduled by individual departments
    • Justification for future existing or expanded teaching lab space is based on current utilization of class labs, as well as a projected curriculum plan for each department. If class labs are not fully utilized, they should be shared with other departments
    • If chronic underutilization occurs, an evaluation should be conducted with a possible outcome that the spaces be reassigned to better serve campus space needs
    • Establish an Instructional Facilities subcommittee that coordinates an annual process of review, recommendation and implementation of classroom supply, scheduling and physical attributes improvement

Contact an Expert

Kelly M Hayes Mcalonie.

Kelly M. Hayes Mcalonie FAIA, LEED AP


Campus Planning

119V John Beane Center

Phone: 716-645-2989


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