Standard 8.A.1 - Instructional and Support Facilities
The strategic initiatives and goals of Facilities Services align with the University Strategic Initiatives and support the University vision. In spite of almost $26M garnered through the state’s Long Range Building Program since 1997, the conventional means of either acquiring or renewing infrastructure has not been able to keep pace with the demands of today’s students and community.
Hence, alternative means continue to be explored to meet fast-paced, emerging needs. Examples include:
- The development of the 30,000-square-foot Downtown campus, funded through a combination of federal and local grants, as well as reimbursable activities;
- Partnership with the MSU Billings Foundation in the People, Pride and Promise: The Campaign for Excellence at MSU Billings campaign, which grossed more than $30 million and provided funding to acquire much needed facilities such as McDonald Hall (the College of Business) and the William H. Lowe Child Care Center.
- The Foundation partnership was also key in building community relationships and gaining $675,000 in contributions that led to the purchase of the land for the new building.
- $300,000 raised within three months of the start of the community-wide soccer field improvement campaign and used to build a new all-weather soccer field;
- Unique and creative use of university rental property to support the MSU Billings Foundation, Alumni House, Childcare Center, KEMC/Yellowstone Public Radio and offices for Facilities Services.
- Continued development of a $14.8 million project for a Joint Community Library on the West Campus in collaboration with the City of Billings.
The ability to leverage resources is probably the greatest asset for assuring facilities remain sufficient to support the institutional mission and goals.
With the support of the community whose contributions purchased the requisite real estate, the newest addition to the MSU Billings academic facility inventory is the Health Sciences Building at the West Campus. The facility was designed with the needs of today’s students who are training for careers in the health care, emergency medical or fire science workplace. The new building features:
- 108 student classrooom computers
- 2 conference/seminar rooms
- 4 computer labs
- 6 general purpose classrooms
- 4 dedicated program classrooms
- An 11-bed nursing unit
- 1 fire science lab
- 1 paramedic computerized patient simulator lab
- 1 functional X-ray radiology lab
- 1 medical assistant lab
- 1 great hall with seating capacity of 277 and a hydraulic wall
- 20 faculty offices
Evidence: 1.1 Mission Document
Traditionally, maintenance funding levels have been sufficient to cover emergent repairs. The last two Montana Long Range Building Program (LRBP) cycles have placed additional emphasis on deferred maintenance, as well as classroom upgrades. Resources have addressed the most challenged spaces. Dated facilities become underused as instructors migrate to more comfortable classrooms outfitted with the latest technology.
|Before and after photos of the Science Auditorium|
Space utilization continues to improve as classroom needs are addressed and the latest technology is employed.
Evidence: 8.7 Space utilization studies
In light of the new accreditation criteria, it was deemed appropriate to investigate the quality of our classrooms/work spaces. The Facilities Services Biennial Customer Service Survey asked, “How would you rate the quality of your classroom/work space?” Although there were no previous benchmarks with which to judge trends, the results were the lowest of all our performance indicators and warranted additional investigation. A subsequent survey related “quality space” to environmental issues, furnishings, equipment, and or offices. It now appears that an individual’s office space has a major influence on determining the adequacy of instructional facilities (Evidence: Exhibit 2, 8.8 Facility Services Biennial Customer Service Survey).
Evidence: 8.8 Facility Services Biennial Customer Service Survey
Biennially, Facilities Services surveys the University community to insure expectations are met. Overall, performance is very good, with positive trends in all areas but one. Custodial Services demonstrated negative trend lines for two surveys, conducted over a three-year period. The root cause may lie in not having replaced the Custodial Supervisor following retirement in May 2004. In response to survey results, a supervisor was hired spring 2007. The Facilities Services Director and the Custodial Supervisor have developed a custodial services plan based on Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers (APPA) guidelines. Work plans for each building were developed, standards established and staffing levels determined. Preliminary indications are that the “quality of custodial” is moving in a favorable direction.
Constituency expectations, however, reach beyond faculty, staff, students and administrators. They also involve community and state leaders. The University continues to work hard to meet those expectations now and in the future.
As an example, the State of Montana — with leadership from the Governor and support from the Board of Regents — has adopted an energy conservation program to reduce consumption in state facilities by 20% by the year 2010. Energy conservation remains a foremost concern for facilities managers at all universities, with the cost of utilities a major component factor in every budget. The costs of the MSU Billings utilities have almost doubled since FY 2000, based on increases in natural gas and electricity as well as the construction of additional 180,000 sf of classrooms and labs. However, energy conservation measures implemented by the University — from construction techniques to use of energy-saving technologies — have managed to continually reduce the overall costs on a per square foot basis.
It should be noted that MSU Billings is a recognized leader in the development and applied research of alternative fuel sources, including biodiesel and fuel cell technologies.
Evidence: 8.10 Custodial Services Guidelines
- Liberal Arts/Library - Conservation measures for the Liberal Arts and Library Building replaced the existing light fixtures in the classrooms and office areas with higher efficiency fluorescent fixtures. In the Special Education Building, emphasis was placed on conversion of the dual duct constant volume HVAC system to a VAV system, replacement of the existing chiller, and photocell controls for exterior lighting. (Savings $364K)
- College of Technology – The following energy conservation measures were installed in the building;
1) daylighting controls use photocells to minimize the use of lights during the day in areas where natural lighting
meets the lighting requirements, 2) programmable thermostats allow for night setback, 3) variable speed fan
motor for the return fan, 4) direct digital HVAC control system, 5) gas-fired radiant heat for shop areas, 6) domestic
hot water system upgrade. (Savings $130K)
- Special Education Building – Heat recovery systems installed on two air handling units and variable speed drives were placed on pumps in the heating and cooling water loops, and the cooling tower. (Savings $126K)
- PE Building – New temperature controls were installed, allowing for night setback and closing of the outside air damper to the heating and ventilating units when the building is unoccupied. New temperature controls that were added to the boilers allow sequencing to minimize the boiler operation. (Savings $30K)
- Propane Back-up System – The installation of a 30K gal. propane storage tank and associated controls allowed MSU to switch from a firm rate to an interruptible rate for natural gas. This project serves the entire Main campus. (Savings $300K)
- Heating System Improvements – Boiler Economizers were installed in the PE building as well as Rimrock and Petro Hall. (Savings $39K)
- McMullen Hall – Converts the constant volume multi-zone system to a variable air volume system. Replaces window A/C units with a central air-cooled chiller and installs high efficiency T5 florescent lighting systems. (Anticipated Savings $350K)
Biennially, a team of engineers and architects performs a site inspection on campus to validate the Facilities Condition Index (FCI). The FCI team inspects each and every building to assess safety, accessibility, energy efficiency, etc. Deficiencies are distributed by category and priority. The number-one priority identified is Health and Life Safety, with $10,937 in repairs identified. MSU Billings continues to have one of the lowest percentages of deferred maintenance at 8.7% ($13.1M) within the Montana State University (MSU) side of the Montana University System (MUS).
An additional $3.155M of deferred maintenance has been identified within the Auxiliary facilities such as student life and housing.
A site-assessment team visits off-University locations to assure that access, connectivity and environmental conditions are appropriate. Off-university syllabi specifically indicate that Facilities Services be notified for additional needs and/or accommodations.