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Campus ID Data Assesses Space Utilization to Reduce Costs, Generate Revenue, and Serve Mission

8/9/2022 9:00:00 AM

Facilities are one of the largest expenses for institutions, after salaries and financial aid, so making efficient and effective use of space on campus is vital to the business of higher education.

Historically, campus spaces are maintained regardless of their activity level. For instance, classroom usage varies greatly by day of the week and month of the year but the need for classrooms persists. The pandemic took this pattern to an extreme, with many campus spaces going unused for extended periods and others being reshaped for safety or repurposed altogether.

The combination of the pandemic’s effects, budget pressures, and enrollment decreases are spurring institutions to perform facilities audits to determine how much space on campus they can afford to manage and how to best use it. Campus ID management systems are a key data source in assessing the efficiency and effectiveness of campus facilities, helping to find ways to reduce costs, generate revenue, and ensure all spaces on campus are supporting the institution’s goals as best as possible.

Big data, big picture

Today’s campuses produce a lot of data from many different sources. Campus ID management systems are one of the primary producers of data, and when your campus ID solution integrates with student and financial technology as well as access hardware across campus the data can be especially insightful when assessing campus buildings and facilities.

Much of the discussion surrounding this data focuses on using it to improve services, like analyzing the busiest dining hall times to assess and adjust staffing and food production levels and schedules as needed. But ID system data also provides information on a larger scale, such as the hourly and daily use of buildings, rooms, and other spaces on campus. Administrators can look at this data when making decisions on whether to maintain, renovate, lease, or possibly sell a space on campus.

Big questions, big decisions

Campus ID management system data on space utilization can answer a number of questions that institutions are asking. The data can help uncover opportunities to right-size their campus to ensure facilities meet the needs of students, staff, faculty, and visitors, while supporting the mission of the institution, managing the budget, and possibly increasing revenue.

Here are some basic space utilization questions that can be answered when analyzing ID system data and serve as a starting point for questions specific to the unique situation of each campus:

  • Are single purpose spaces used for the intended purpose and frequently enough to sustain the cost? If not, could they be re-purposed or transformed into hybrid spaces to increase utilization?
  • With work from home more common for staff, how much office space is being used, where and when?
  • How much are dormitories, gyms, recreation centers, and similar facilities for auxiliary services being used?
  • If a space has low activity levels, and the location is right, could it be leased or sold?

Developing insights for developing spaces

As administrative leaders evaluate next steps, using ID system data to monitor the use of campus spaces provides fresh insights that can inform decisions. The data helps discover options for flexible and adaptive changes that fit the evolving prevalence, design, and size of dormitories, classrooms, and much more. Tracking space utilization through ID system data identifies trends, guides planning, and helps facilities and operations best support institutional goals.