NMU Purchases Space and Scheduling Software
Northern has implemented a centralized software system that provides an inventory of campus space and academic equipment, automates course and event scheduling and analyzes how facility resources are being managed.
“The main motivation was to generate data on campus space that we could make available to the state during the capital outlay process,” said Felecia Flack (AdIT). “They always ask for this information and it used to have to be compiled manually. This automated system will make it a lot easier to provide the data. Also, space costs money. The university will be able to study the data internally to ensure that we’re optimizing available space and using it as efficiently as possible. This will help Northern develop strategies for accommodating growth.”
Northern manages about 3.5 million square feet at an annual cost of $15.2 million. The software system – purchased from CollegeNET Corp. – generates a variety reports on space utilization. These include how often rooms are used and how well, peak usage times and scheduling patterns over the course of a day or week and how well class enrollments match their assigned room capacities.
“The first step is obtaining the initial data, coding it properly and getting it loaded to make the system work correctly,” Flack said. “Eventually we’ll be able to use that data to develop benchmarks and utilization standards. One nice feature is that the system will allow organizations or individuals to submit Web-based requests for a particular room or even a racquetball court.”
The next steps are to establish an NMU space utilization committee and to continue to work with the software to understand its many features and capabilities. Flack said one university used the system to help ease parking congestion at different times of the day in certain locations on campus.
“We’re a long way from that point, but we did recently use the software to produce a report that showed the NCAA how we’ve allocated athletic facilities for men’s and women’s sports,” Flack added. “There is so much to this tool and it has many potential uses.”
The team working with the system is comprised of Administrative Information Technology (AdIT), the Registrar, Auxiliary Services – for conference/catering and athletic/recreation events – and Engineering and Planning.