The 2020 Project and Backfill Space Allocation Plan (PDF, 32 MB) is now complete and final.
After a long, exhaustive consultation process, the 2020 Project and Backfill Space Allocation Plan is now complete and final. On behalf of Maggie Saunders, Executive Director of Space Planning, I thank you sincerely for the constructive, collegial dialogue about space that you have engaged in over the past 18 months. I have been impressed by the community’s willingness to put the long-term needs of the institution above our individual differences of opinions and personal preferences.
Representing our best collective effort, the plan is predicated on several guiding assumptions:
Faculty at Castle have priority to return to campus.
Faculty with lab space not conducive to their research have priority to move to new facilities.
Growth and buffer space are critical to the sustainability of the university.
Proximity of departments should enable research synergies wherever possible.
Strategic Centers of Excellence are critical to advance the research mission of UC Merced.
In response to the publication of the preliminary 2020 Project and Backfill Space Allocation proposal on Sept. 27, the Office of Space Planning and Analysis received 95 comments from departments, faculty, staff and students. Staff analyzed the comments and found they fell into two general categories: Corrections to the space management database or modifications to the numbers of staff, faculty or other personnel in a department or program.
Three significant programmatic adjustments also emerged through faculty discussion:
Creating a center of gravity for Interdisciplinary Humanities adjacent to the Humanities Center. Moving Economics to COB allows History/CRES and Languages & Literature to grow in place in COB2. We will additionally create a core of IH graduate students in COB2.
Housing MCS and CIS on the second floor of SSM keeps two closely aligned departments of the future Gallo School together, which would move Psychology and Public Health to the third floor of SSM.
Moving Computer Science to SE2 consolidates the faculty in a single location and enables greater collaboration.
All other proposal revisions are “around the edges” or are data corrections.
The current plan takes a bird’s eye view of campus-wide space allocation. In working through the details of space allocation and the backfill projects, we will account for every person and function. The plan is color-coded to make it easier to see the allocations, and it includes a current and a future version of the plan for each floor in each building. Colored blocks denote the area tentatively planned for academic or administrative departments. For space planning purposes, the buffer space for a department is identified by the same color as that department. The actual allocation of space may be modified over time with the evolution of the academic planning process and will be verified during the space assignment and backfill planning processes.
The Office of Space Planning and Analysis will provide documentation of allocated space by department, program, school and division. Upon receipt of the documentation, each department chair or program leader will need to meet with their respective dean or vice chancellor to assign specific space to individuals within the allocated space. Including Maggie Saunders in these discussions is recommended so she can accurately address any questions that might arise during the assignment process.
The new academic department chair role includes a specific responsibility for space management. To assist chairs in fulfilling this new responsibility and to ensure that we effectively and efficiently use our new and newly renovated (in the backfill) space, we have circulated for Senate comment the draft Campus Space Management Principles (generated by the SPA Board in 2017) and Space Allocation and Assignment Guidelines. When these are fully approved, these documents should be used to inform decisions about actual space assignments.
The space assignment process will also occur in collaboration with the move and backfill project planning processes as space planners verify specific assignments and program requirements. Lab fit up and move planning have already begun for Building 2A (Sustainability Research & Engineering) and Building 2B (Global Arts and Computation Sciences), and will begin in January for Building 3A (Physics & Biological Sciences).
A complete list of backfill projects and a timetable for their completion will be published in February 2019. Funding is constrained for the backfill projects. Guiding principles will be developed and applied uniformly across the backfill projects to facilitate effective and equitable use of these resources. Stakeholders will be engaged in late Spring 2019 to develop the program requirements for the initial backfill projects with the goal of completing the initial projects in Fall 2019. Successive waves of backfill project planning will occur as space and funding become available over the next five years.
Thank you for your input and patience in the ongoing process. This is an important milestone, and I’m pleased to share the finalized plan with each of you today.
Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Space Planning Allocation (SPA) Board (disbanded)