Faced with a growing demand for academic square footage, Seattle Pacific University (SPU) engaged Sightlines to answer three core questions: Are the teaching spaces configurations consistent with its program? How effectively are the teaching spaces utilized? What are the comparative conditions of its teaching spaces? Sightlines’ analysis focused on three core analytical efforts:
- A field assessment of each classroom and its components
- A utilization analysis
- A review of institutional scheduling policy.
Sightlines interviewed faculty and students to evaluate the changing expectations and requirements of classrooms. These focus groups helped align needs and uncover best practices for classroom designs and layout. Sightlines then reconciled these insights with a review of course scheduling and a physical inventory of each classroom. Utilization was assessed both on the basis of room and position usage.
Based on Sightlines’ recommendations, Seattle Pacific made significant changes to the scheduling process to release hidden value in their teaching spaces. The initial study indicated that the vast majority of courses were scheduled in rooms larger than enrollment dictated. To align the room inventory with enrollment, Sightlines recommended more teaching spaces with a capacity of 20 be added to support smaller classes and more efficiently utilize square footage. The recommended changes could be performed within the context of the condition analysis enabling SPU to coordinate renovations with those rooms with the highest backlogs of needs.
Aside from the physical recommendations, Sightlines analysis provided SPU’s administration with the data needed to reorganize and improve their block scheduling process. Now armed with a better understanding of actual capacities and faculty preferences, more classes are scheduled at peak times making the scheduling process significantly more efficient for the administration and less divisive for the faculty.
As a result of Sightlines work, Seattle Pacific University saw an increase in space utilization of over 30%. This new found efficiency released hidden value and eliminated the immediate need for a new classroom facility.