Special Planning for Special Spaces (reviewed below)
The theme for this issue of Facilities Manager is Pathways to the Future. Most of us would probably agree that, in terms of institutional direction and support, the exact location of each school's future is subject to much speculation. In the early 1980s, the Carnegie Council reminded the academy in Three Thousand Futures that each institution has a different road to travel; I suspect that many schools that think they know exactly where the future will take them have been badly misinformed. At best, we all need to let our knowledge of where we are now help us plan for this trip. Two areas where we should be especially proactive concern planning and energy management. This issue's reviews cover both these general subjects. The planning titles reviewed include a work by SCUP addressing special areas and a book on disaster planning and recovery. The last two reviews cover financing energy projects, and an energy engineering handbook.
Special Planning for Special Spaces, edited by Persis Rickes. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Society for College and University Planning, 1997. 141 pp, softcover.
Special Planning is an anthology of 23 articles and book reviews which appeared in Planning for Higher Education, the journal of the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP). As the editor indicates, "all campus spaces are special, but perhaps some are more special than others...." This book covers four types of special spaces: cultural, instructional, student, and outdoor. The discussions for each space type are current and informative, written by individuals with extensive experience in higher education facilities.
The section on cultural spaces contains planning information for performing arts, visual arts, and museum buildings. Dedicated structures for these functions are not present on every campus, but most higher education institutions have rooms or sections of buildings for these activities. The article on acoustics for music buildings is especially well done, as is the primer covering museums. This cultural space type was especially interesting to me since my university has recently completed a performing and visual arts center which includes all the facilities described here.
The second special type of space covered is the one that affects all facilities managers in the academy. Instructional spaces continue to need constant attention to take advantage of the untapped potential of the electronic age to support pedagogical evolution. Classroom, library, and laboratory designs are reviewed in four articles and four book reviews. The articles which were future-directed, especially "What Size Libraries for 2010" and "Designing Tomorrow's Laboratories," are very well done. Unfortunately, one book review discussed the report by the Higher Education Colloquium on Science Facilities' Task Force on Academic Facilities Costs. This group spent enormous time and energy reporting that science buildings cost more to build and take longer to design and construct than other college buildings; this profound disclosure was another example of experts who borrow your watch and then tell you that time it is.
Student spaces are the focus of the third special space type discussion. Resident hall, student activity center, and bookstore planning articles convey valuable information for facilities managers. The "New-Wave Student Housing" article is an excellent review of the resurgence of student housing in the academy, both as an element of college choice and as a location for technology access. Also, the discussion of student activity centers listed the new facility on my campus, a building which has become a source of great pride for the entire student body.
Outdoor spaces on campuses are covered in the last section of this anthology. Landscape design is often given short shrift during periods of budget contraction, and these articles point out the importance of planning and design in creating the special ambiance that a college should have. Curb appeal not only attracts students, but also helps form the social cement that builds faculty, staff, alumni, and students into a cohesive academic community.
Special Planning for Special Spaces is an important publication by an important higher education association. SCUP, like APPA, provides its members with literature and services which can be very helpful for professional facilities managers. I freely admit that I am biased toward SCUP, since its journal stresses the value of book reviews, done by its members, to keep all members informed about the literature affecting its area of higher education. This book is very informative, and should not be overlooked by APPA members. It is now available through APPA's Resource catalog.