All space at Oregon State University (OSU) is owned or leased by the university and is a shared and finite resource. Managing space efficiently reduces resource expenditures for operations and maintenance and reduces the need for capital construction. Allocating space judiciously ensures that existing space is managed efficiently, and new and renovated construction is planned realistically and conservatively. It is the intent of OSU to provide academic and administrative departments with a quality workplace environment that supports program operations, preserves the value of space, promotes environmental sustainability and reduces operation and maintenance costs. OSU work space should support and improve the productivity of its employees/faculty and programs. Standards and practices for space planning will be used to achieve this goal.

In 2015, OSU Space Management updated and revised space codes to align with the Postsecondary Education Facilities Inventory and Classification Manual (FICM) standards.  This switch greatly clarified the categorization of space types and usages, while also facilitating improved analysis, reporting and management of OSU’s space inventory and allowing more accurate comparison of peer institution space allocation.

Authority and Administration

To aid in the planning, allocating and managing space on campus, the space planning standards in this document will assist the university community in establishing equitable, consistent, efficient and flexible planning parameters, and help make sound management decisions about space allocations both for new construction and within existing or renovated buildings. Oregon State University (OSU) is using and managing space in a manner consistent with the guiding principles of the Strategic Plan 3.0 of the university. The Space Management unit within Capital Planning and Development (CPD) administers these standards and coordinates their implementation.

Space Standards Development

Research was conducted to identify standards at similar peer institutions and practices that support innovation in pedagogy and commitments to sustainability and fiscal responsibility. The space standards in this document reflect existing OSU space use and tradition, along with approaches gathered from other institutions of higher education across the nation.

These Space standards have been informed through insight and feedback from the OSU community, including college, department, program and university leadership, including the recommendations brought through the OSU Space Planning Task Force (2006).

Building upon these recommendations, these standards seek to accommodate a diversity of needs and functions, while recognizing the condition of space and the goals of Oregon State University’s Strategic Plan 3.0. 

Effort has been made to develop standards that:

  • Are consistent with the philosophy that all space belongs to the University,
  • Enable long-term growth of OSU educational, research, and outreach programs,
  • Maintain state-of-the-art facilities through regular upgrade investments and a consistent program of operations and maintenance, and
  • Are responsive to changing programmatic needs.

Scope and Impact of Space Standards

OSU owns or occupies over 8 million gross square feet (GSF) of space throughout the State of Oregon. These standards are intended to provide guidance for the following types of campus space:

  • Classrooms
  • Research laboratory spaces
  • Offices
  • Office Accessory Spaces

These standards do not imply entitlement, although they can restrict resource expenditure. The standards will be reviewed and updated annually and may be refined to meet the changing needs of Oregon State.

The standards in this document will assist the university community in meeting the goals of Oregon State’s mission:

  • As a land, sea, space, sun grant institution committed to teaching, research and outreach and engagement, Oregon State University promotes economic, social, cultural and environmental progress for the people of Oregon, the nation and the world. This mission is achieved by producing graduates competitive in the global economy, supporting a continuous search for new knowledge and solutions and maintaining a rigorous focus on academic excellence, particularly in the three Signature Areas:
    • Advancing the Science of Sustainable Earth Ecosystems
    • Improving Human Health and Wellness
    • Promoting Economic Growth and Social Progress

Application of Space Standards

The space standards are intended to assist the university community in fairly and effectively planning for space needs. The standards are to be applied for any new construction or major renovations at any OSU building and will be used by Capital Planning and Development when planning and designing space on campus. The space standards will also provide the Space Management Team a measure by which to review space allocation proposals.

Roles in Applying the Standards

The Space Management Team, under the direction of VP Finance and Administration, assists the university community with specific space planning projects and provides customer support on space planning and design related topics. Space Management maintains the inventory of space allocations, types and uses on the campus. The Space Management team is available to work with departments to inventory and assess existing space usage, translate program aspirations into space needs and propose space allocation recommendations, using the standards stated in this document to determine space needs of university departments.

Maintaining an accurate inventory of campus space is a critical part of Finance and Administration. The space inventory database provides important information for maximizing university resource efficiency and financial support. The data are used for determining the rate of Federal Finance and Administration Cost Recovery, internal/external reporting and analysis, master planning, facilities maintenance, logistics, and mail services. In order to maintain an accurate inventory of space, an annual space survey will be conducted. Every department is designated a space coordinator who will work with Space Management to complete the survey, to document any changes in space uses, floor plans, or occupants. It is also important for departments to contact Space Management whenever changes are made within their spaces throughout the year. Space Management works with departments regarding their requests for space, gathering information related to the request, and performing programming and needs assessments.

Special Circumstances

In special circumstances, approved by the Dean and/or Department Chair, faculty or staff office may be larger or smaller than standards. These circumstances might include:

  • Special or unusual building configurations that affect the efficiency of the space
  • Particular accessibility issues
  • Overall school and/or department space constraints or needs

New Construction and Renovations

The standards provide specific data for the planning and design of new buildings and renovation of existing spaces. They are designed to provide university departments, CPD, and Capital Projects and Construction a defined scale for the initial scoping, feasibility and programming phases of development. Through the various stages of planning and design, the space standards are intended to continue to serve as a reference for the size and layout of offices and office accessory components.

Variance from these standards may be justified, but would need to go through a case-by-case basis to ensure that the variance conforms to the guiding principles of efficient space use, the mission of the university and are approved.

Existing Spaces

Planning space within existing buildings is often affected by structural limitations, aging building systems, building configuration, or historic preservation. There are sometimes programs that “fit” more efficiently than others in specific buildings and spaces, but the latitude, cost, justification or inclination to relocate programs may not be feasible. Complex issues are involved in allocating and planning department spaces and meeting campus-wide space needs. When renovating existing space it may not be feasible to fully implement these standards and a variance may be required. An example of this would be a building with preexisting offices that are larger than the standards established in this document. The cost and energy involved in the demolition and reconstruction of these offices would not coincide with the guiding principles and the mission of the university.

When allocation and/or renovation of existing space occurs, Space Management, Capital Planning and Capital Programming units within Capital Planning and Development will work with departments for maximizing the efficiency, modularity, and flexibility of the space.

Older Buildings and Non-conforming Space

The OSU campus has a wide variety of building stock; dating from the late 1800s to the present day. Older buildings present challenges when it comes to remodeling and conforming to the standards presented here. In these situations, Space Management can assist with space planning with the goal of space utilization that meets programmatic needs within an older footprint.

Space Costs

The costs of building, renovating, operating and maintaining space at OSU are high. The ongoing operating costs of buildings on the OSU campus are even more significant over time. The magnitude of these costs makes it even more important for the university to use its space wisely and efficiency.