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October 10, 2006, Volume 53, No. 7
Year-End Report of the Committee on Facilities

At the request of the Steering Committee of the Council, the Committee on Facilities submits this Final Report.

The Committee met three times in Fall 2005: on November 9, November 16, and December 7, 2005. The committee discussed two specific charges given by the Steering Committee. 

Those charges were:

1. Evaluate the existing general charge of the committee for appropriateness and feasibility of the committee, as well as the constituencies represented in its membership, as defined in the Bylaws of the University Council.

2. Investigate the function of the committee, its utility, competing or complementary overlaps with other bodies in the University, and obstacles to fulfilling the general charge, and make recommendations regarding the future of the committee.

The Committee’s General Charge

The Bylaws of the University Council state:

The Committee on Facilities shall be responsible for keeping under review the planning and operation by the University of its physical plant and all services associated therewith, including transportation and parking. The Committee shall consist of eight faculty members, three A-1 staff members, two representatives of the Weekly-Paid Professional Staff Assembly, two graduate/professional students, and two undergraduate students. The vice president for facilities services, the chair of the committee for an Accessible University, and the registrar shall be non-voting ex officio members of the Committee.

The Committee recommends that the Committee be retained as constituted.

Appropriateness and Feasibility of the General Charge

The University Council Committee on Facilities Committee examined the general charge of the Committee for appropriateness and feasibility and it determined that it was satisfactory for the purposes of carrying out its function.

The Committee believes that it is important for members of the faculty, the staff, and the students to have a forum to exchange ideas and viewpoints regarding ‘facilities’ issues and that it is the only one on a list of complementary committees that represents a cross-section of the spectrum of the University, and whose members represent different communities that experience facilities differently.

The Committee believes it serves a vital advisory, oversight, and advocacy role and recommends that Council retain it.    

The Function of the Committee

The general consensus is that, while there may be the appearance of duplication by the complementary committees, groups, and councils that deal, either in part or in whole, with the issues of real estate, development and facilities, the reality is that the University Council Committee on Facilities is (to repeat) the only one on the list that represents a cross-section of the spectrum of the University.

We compiled and reviewed a list of these complementary committees, etc., (some of whom might be examining the same topic as our committee). If we continue to review their work, or at least be informed about it, (and we believe that we should), we recommend that copies of their deliberations, either in the form of the minutes of their meetings and/or their interim and final reports be made accessible to our committee. Reciprocally, we should make our minutes and reports available to them. This recommendation is a simple response to the fact that the ‘overlapping’ committees and bodies are studying many issues that are of mutual interest, and that overlaps should not necessarily result in duplication and redundancy. 

To increase the effectiveness of the Committee, we recommend that membership, leadership, and staffing should cover more than one term.  This would allow for continuity between terms as well as enhance the opportunity to address longer term issues, leading to better follow-up on prior year reports and to reduce orientation time. 

The Committee met three times in Spring 2006: on February 1, March 15, and April 19, 2006.

The Committee agreed to focus on a proposal to structure the topics to be examined by this committee in the future, that is, to replace an ad-hoc or advocacy set of agenda items.

1. Short-term topics that arise within the immediate year:

a. Respond to any charges set by University Council, e.g. CDPC.

b. Review action on proposals of previous year.

c. Examine (after vote) topics proposed by Facilities Committee members of current year.

d. Ad-hoc events, e.g., temporary site-works.

e. Create a University website that shows the minutes of all committees related to ‘facilities’ and activities of the Department of Facilities. 

2. Intermediate-term topics that are of a few years duration:

a. E.g., CDPC.

b. E.g., South Street Bridge closing.

3. Standing or long-term topics:

a. Communication or feedback to the committee.

b. Pedestrian safety, accessibility and/or transportation coordination.

c. Sustainability (energy efficiency, ageing infrastructure, life cycle costing), in general, and recycling, in particular.

d. Open spaces.

e. Space planning problems associated with responsibility center management (pooled research and classroom space).

There was unanimous agreement that these ‘standing’ topics  should be examined every year by the Committee.


Facilities Committee Members 2005-2006

Chair: Peter McCleary (Architecture); Faculty: Eugenie Birch (City & Regional Planning), Peter McCleary (Architecture), John McCoubrey (SAS/History of Art), Susan Wachter (Real Estate); Undergraduate Students: Dipal Patel (EAS ’08), Alexis Ruby Howe (COL ’07); WPSA: Loretta Hauber (Learning Resources), Andrew Holman (Development/Alumni Relations); PPSA: Joanne Murray (Nursing), Susan Russoniello (Career Services); David Scheller (Registrar); Ex Officio: Omar Blaik (SVP, Facilities & Real Estate Services), Alice Nagle (Student Disability Services), Ronald Sanders (Registrar).

Almanac - October 10, 2006, Volume 53, No. 7