Providing a functional environment for a multi-campus university such as Southwest Missouri State University constitutes a vast and complex challenge. A master plan has been developed.
Services for the university must be delivered, wherever required, across three geographically-separated campuses comprising 529 acres. The value of SMSU's real property exceeded $257 million in 1994 dollars. Another $40 million has been invested in equipment inventory.
The assignable square footage of university facilities consists of more than 2.2 million square feet. Student services claim slightly better than half of the square footage, while instructional and research areas account for another one-third. The balance of the space is assigned to various academic and institutional support functions.
The facilities on the three campuses range from historic to modern, from agricultural cropland to sophisticated laboratories. Some facilities have been constructed expressly for academic purposes; others have been acquired and converted. Installed equipment for academic and administrative use ranges from obsolete to state-of-the-art. All of these facilities and equipment support the institutional mission; all must be cared for.
Maintenance and repair
Many university buildings on all three campuses, including several property acquisitions offering tremendous potential for academic benefit, need major repair. Over the past decade, $13 million has been appropriated in maintenance and repair funding. While certainly a significant outlay, this funding has proven inadequate to meet the demand. Overall, the $13 million amounts to slightly more than one-half of 1 percent of the current asset value of the university's real property.
Over the past two years, the administration has committed additional funding from its operating funds. This effort constituted a local commitment to increase maintenance and repair outlays to 1 percent of the total physical plant replacement value. Despite this dedicated effort, the backlog of maintenance and repair has continued to mount. Little more can be squeezed from the university's already constrained operating budget.
Today, the documented backlog in maintenance and repair is calculated at $29.5 million.
Contributing geometrically to this unsatisfactory situation is the fact that maintenance and repair funds are consumed totally in corrective repairs to the physical plant. Over time, staffing to conduct preventive maintenance has been depleted through a combination of physical plant budget cuts and by a dramatic increase in usable space without a corresponding adjustment in staffing. This erosion of preventive maintenance capability has led to system failures and has had a detrimental impact on the quality of the institution's educational facilities. Lacking the resource commitment to re-establish a preventive maintenance capability, the backlog of maintenance and repair will likely continue to grow at an increasing rate.
A strategy to reverse this unsatisfactory trend in maintenance and repair, along with a dedicated commitment of resources, must be initiated immediately. An accepted industry standard for preventive maintenance is 2 to 4 percent per year of the physical plant value. An annual allocation over the next five years of 4 percent of the university's physical plant value will re-establish an active preventive maintenance program. Additionally, this dedicated commitment will provide the assets to attack the backlog systematically, offering a higher probability for meaningful results. Beginning in the year 2001, an annual allocation of 3 percent should sustain an effective maintenance and repair program.
Capital investment requirements
The university has received nearly $34 million for capital improvements to academic facilities during the past decade, including $14 million provided for fiscal year 1995 from the voter-approved bonds for the Fourth State Building Fund. Despite this commitment, unprecedented growth in required program offerings and enrollment has created major deficiencies in the per capita academic and administrative space available to SMSU students. As of fall 1993, the university ranked last among Missouri's four-year institutions in square feet of classroom space per FTE student. Measured against a selected group of comparably-sized midwestern universities, SMSU ranks in the bottom quartile. Further exacerbating this shortage is the fact that much of the academic space at SMSU is substandard.
The university has completed a recent inventory of its existing space and identified that which is substandard. From these data, strategies will be developed to bring that space, including classrooms in all colleges, up to an acceptable standard.
Concurrently, a preliminary master planning effort has been concluded for the Springfield and West Plains campuses, and similar efforts are presently ongoing for the Research Campus and the Agriculture Center.
A University Space Planning Advisory Committee is preparing a facilities reutilization plan. This plan will provide a facilities vision in anticipation of the construction in 1996-97 of a new Public Affairs Classroom Building, and the projected receipt of appropriations to complete high priority renovations identified in the university's fiscal year 1995 capital appropriations request and accompanying five-year plan.
A significant infusion of capital investment is essential for 1) the construction of needed facilities to fulfill future educational and administrative demands, 2) modernization and renovation of existing structures to comply with building code requirements, and 3) the provision of state-of-the-art classroom equipment comparable to technology with which university graduates will be expected to be proficient. Left unattended, the deficiencies in the university's physical plant and equipment inventory will seriously retard the attainment of the goals expressed in this long-range plan. Increased state funding, supplemented by the infusion of private contributions, must be planned for, articulated, and realized.
Plans for the future
Facility construction/renovation efforts over the next 5-10 years at the Springfield Campus are targeted at supporting the academic environment for the five major themes of the university and toward reutilization of physical space in the central campus core for academic purposes. New facilities and major renovations are planned for public affairs, health care, performing arts, on general education programs, and for the library.
The single best near-term capital investment is the final phase renovation of the Allied Health Building, followed closely by the needed addition to the University College Hall. Each of these key projects is given high priority in the university's 1995 capital appropriations request. Further, the realization of these projects, along with the new Public Affairs Classroom Building, will allow for the programmed reutilization of present facilities to consolidate professional education programs and provide integrity for the College of Arts and Letters departments, now widely-dispersed across the campus. Additionally, construction of a new Campus Union will allow conversion of the present Campus Union into a student services center.
SMSU's intent to relocate traditional support services departments to the campus periphery will yield a major gain in both academic space and system efficiency. First, relocation will allow the central campus facilities presently housing support services functions to be reconfigured for laboratory and classroom space vital to the programmed growth of the College of Natural and Applied Sciences. Secondly, traffic and pedestrian circulation in the central campus core will be enhanced when these facilities are converted to academic use. Service providers can operate from the periphery and penetrate the academic core to deliver requested support.
During the 1995-2000 time frame, requirements for a new classroom/laboratory building at the West Plains Campus and renovations of several key facilities at the Research Campus have been identified. The growth of the university's Agriculture Center and its natural linkage to the department of fruit science at Mountain Grove have also been programmed.
Construction of new facilities and renovation of existing space to meet the current and future institutional mission are both under way and planned. Chart K summarizes key renovation and new construction projects.
While not included in Chart K, other renovations to Meyer Library and Craig, Ellis, Cheek, Kemper, Temple, Faurot and Kellett halls, along with supporting infrastructure modernization projects throughout all three campuses, are also relevant to this long-range plan. A complete listing and description of all projects and planning efforts programmed during the next five years are included in the Fiscal Year 1995 Capital Appropriations Request submitted in August 1994.
Major capital investment highlights
|1996||Allied Health Care Renovation||$7,715,600|
|1996||University College Hall Addition||2,130,200|
|1996||New Band Hall||2,418,300|
|1996||New Classroom/Laboratory Building (West Plains)||3,100,700|
|1997||New Support Services Complex||$4,505,900|
|1997||Siceluff Hall Renovation||1,593,000|
|1997||Administrative Building Renovation (West Plains)||216,400|
New Science Annex
|1998||New Printing and Distribution Center||2,533,800|
|1998||Student Services Center Renovation||3,000,000|
|1998||Kellett Hall Addition (West Plains)||1,040,000|
|1999||Meyer Library Addition - Electronic Library||$15,420,000|
New Science and Technology Complex