October 20, 2014  

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Space Planning Committee Seeks Input to Identify, Prioritize Needs

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The University of Southern Mississippi’s Ad Hoc Space Planning Committee seeks input as it examines space needs and availability on the Hattiesburg campus, with many opportunities becoming available in the near future as construction moves forward on new buildings.

This committee is working with the Master Planning Committee in keeping with the overall principles and guidelines of the Campus Master Campus Plan. The group is also being assisted by Sasaki Associates in its identification of space needs. Sasaki played a key role in 2007 in the development of the Campus Master Plan.

The committee’s primary tasks are developing mid- and long-range plans to address space needs for the Hattiesburg campus, working within the Campus Master Plan. While these tasks were the fundamental goals of the committee when it formed, it has since evolved to include addressing immediate and emergency space needs as they arise.

Priorities for the Ad Hoc Space Committee in assessing space needs include:

*Maintaining Accreditation. Maintaining the accreditation of our programs is crucial to our educational mission.

*Enabling Growth. Space allocations should be conducive to growth goals and projections.

*Meeting Needs. The University’s real needs – both present and future - should be addressed by:

  1. Decreasing dependence on deteriorating and inadequate facilities.
  2. Increasing available classroom space. The need for more classroom space – particularly classrooms that seat 75 – 100 – is imperative.
  3. Addressing long-term as opposed to merely temporary needs.
  4. Addressing any short-term needs – related to space that is needed quickly.

*Increasing desired adjacencies. Optimal efficiency and effectiveness requires increasing physical proximity within departments, colleges, and other units.

*Funding availability. Space allocation decisions need to be sensitive to both:
1. Cost of construction
2. Cost of operations

* Enhancing Fit. Assigned spaces should be appropriately matched to specific needs.
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* Easing transitions. Decisions must consider feasibility of relocation, including the availability of needed “swing space.”

* Enhance Public presentation and accessibility. Convenience of access for visitors, users of public services, and extra-mural participants should be increased. Space planning should augment campus hospitality and user-friendliness.

* Disability Accommodation. Convenient access for the disabled must be ensured.

* Preserving historical significance – The integrity of historical buildings should be maintained.

* Funded research facilities – Length of time period for funded project shall determine the need to hold space. Can the space be repurposed at the end of the grant project?

Committee members reflect broad representation of the Hattiesburg campus, and include Dr. Cynthia Easterling (chair – Office of the Provost); Rita Hailey-Burks (Master Planning (Physical Plant - Master Planning); Dr. Chris Crenshaw (Physical Plant); Debby Hill (Registrar’s Office); Christa McLeod (Office of the President); Joe Paul (Student Affairs); Lynn McCarver (Advancement); Sam Bruton (Research); Steve Ballew (Administrative Affairs); Susan Siltanen (Office of the Provost); Frank Moore (Dean’s

Faculty Representative); Stacy Reischman Fletcher (Faculty Senate) and Sid Gonsoulin (Ex Officio).

Members of the Hattiesburg campus community are encouraged to communicate with their supervisor/direct report with input about ideas, suggestions and questions about allocation of space on campus. Executive Cabinet members will collect this information through the end of September and submit it to the Ad Hoc Space Committee and Sasaki. Sasaki will then interview the cabinet members during October with regard to space needs of the divisions/units they represent.

For more information, contact Dr. Cynthia Easterling at cynthia.easterling@usm.edu.