Chapter 4: Criterion Two
The institution has effectively organized the human,
physical resources necessary to accomplish its purposes.
Buildings and Grounds
Overview. UNK owns just under 258 acres of land in Kearney, with the main campus on 127.59 acres of land on the city's west side. Across Highway 30 on the west end of campus, the institution owns 103.52 acres that are currently leased-out as farmland. Adjacent to the farmland is the Nebraska Center for Safety Education and Research, which occupies 11.62 acres. One mile north of the main campus, UNK owns University Heights, a 10 acre apartment complex for married students and students over 21. The final 5.23 acres are the Westlake property, which is located north of campus on the edge of Kearney Lake and provides a natural habitat for field studies by UNK's biology department.
Forty-three buildings comprise the UNK campus, with a total of 1,794,017 gross square feet. These totals do not include the Museum of Nebraska Art (MONA) and the Alumni House, which UNK does not own. The University of Nebraska system classifies buildings as either state-aided buildings or "revenue bond" (auxiliary) buildings. Thirteen residence halls, the Memorial Student Affairs building, and the Nebraskan Student Union comprise the revenue bond buildings. The estimated replacement cost for all campus buildings, as of December of 2002, totaled $206.2 million, with $117.4 for state-aided buildings and $88.8 million for revenue bond buildings.
Management of Facilities. The Office of Facilities Management and Planning, which reports to the Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance, oversees operation and maintenance of state-aided buildings and grounds. This office also is responsible for maintenance of all heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems for the entire campus. The Office of Residential and Greek Life (ORL), which reports to the Dean of Students, is responsible for light maintenance and custodial care of the revenue bond buildings. The Office of Facilities Management and Planning, however, is responsible for major maintenance, electrical, or plumbing projects on both state-owned and revenue bond buildings.
UNK has completed six major construction projects in the last ten years that have made major improvements to the campus. The following paragraphs summarize these projects.
- Copeland Hall houses 14 classrooms, several departments of the College of Natural and Social Sciences, and the office of the Dean of Natural and Social Sciences. UNK completed a $4.5 million renovation and expansion of this building in 1997.
- UNK spent $7.3 million to renovate the West Center building and the Communications Center. Before acquisition by UNK in 1972, the West Center was a hospital complex. The building's design accommodated hospital patient rooms and wards, and was not conducive to instruction. Pillars limited vision in classrooms, lighting was inadequate, and the acoustics were substandard. In addition, not all areas were handicapped accessible. The project addressed these deficiencies and converted the former hospital into a modern classroom and office building.
- The College of Education, constructed for $9.5 million, is UNK's newest building and opened in the summer of 2002. Faculty in teacher education, elementary education, special education, counseling and school psychology, educational administration, and communication disorders are now in the same building. Before the building's construction, faculty and staff were located in several different buildings across campus. The building includes the Dean's Office, eight classrooms, two computer labs; the University's testing center, and the Speech and Hearing Clinic.
- The Nebraskan Student Union opened in 1964. A major renovation/addition in 1981 added a ballroom, snack bar, TV and game rooms, music and study rooms, bookstore, deli, sweet shop, and private dining areas. In 1994, the food service contractors renovated the Commons Dining Area, the Sandhills Room, and the Chancellor's Dining Room. The facility, however, was undersized and could not meet demand for the student government and organizations, general meeting space, and catering rooms. The $6.3 million revenue bond project added approximately 23,000 gross square feet to the existing 74,114 gross square foot building.
- UNK is finishing the $6.5 million project renovation of the Bruner Hall of Science, with December of 2003 as the anticipated completion date. Overall, code compliance for this building was marginal, requiring extensive modifications to the structure and systems to accommodate current fire and life safety codes. Antiquated mechanical systems allowed odor migration through building, the fume hood system was inadequate, and the chemistry storeroom needed ventilated fire cabinets. The building also had major deferred maintenance and safety code issues. The electrical equipment was substandard, the roof and walls allowed moisture penetration to deteriorate interior surfaces, and the second floor student lounge and some lecture halls were not handicapped accessible.
- UNK has $1.6 million approved to complete Phase I of renovations to the Otto Olsen building. The building now houses a variety of departments and programs, including the Departments of Industrial Technology, the Department of Family Studies and Interior Design, the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems, the Division of Information Technology Services, and UNK's child daycare center. Major goals of the renovation include correcting deferred maintenance deficiencies, bringing the building up to current codes, and improving accessibility to the building in accordance with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. This project started in the summer of 2003 and will conclude in August of 2004.
Maintenance and Repair
State-Aided Buildings. Much of UNK's funding for maintenance and repair comes from transfers from the Task Force for Building Renewal, which is a division of the State of Nebraska's Division of Administrative Services. UNK uses the Task Force's categorization of projects as Fire/Life Safety, Deferred Maintenance, ADA, and Energy Conservation. For most projects, UNK must match Task Force funds with internal funds. For each of these project types, the Task Force has three levels of severity, from Class I for most severe to Class III for least severe. As of February 2003, UNK's backlog of projects in all of these categories totaled $57.8 million. The table below shows the distribution of projects by type and class.
|Fire & Life-Safety||$ 2,520,000||$ 6,781,000||$ 684,000||$ 9,985,000|
|Americans with Disabilities||1,045,000||164,000||236,000||1,445,000|
|Totals||$ 9,470,000||$ 45,097,500||$ 3,285,000||$ 57,852,500|
Revenue Bond Buildings. UNK funds maintenance and repair for revenue bond buildings from auxiliary funds. These projects are not subject to funding approval by the Task Force for Building Renewal. As a result, UNK's categorization of these projects is different from the categorization of projects for state-supported buildings. The estimated cost of the backlog of maintenance and repair projects for revenue bond buildings is $44.7 million. The list of these projects is available in the resource room.
UNK's campus has undergone numerous improvements in the last decade that enhanced the institution. The strengths for state-funded buildings are as follows:
- With the completion of the new College of Education building in Spring 2002, teacher education faculty are located in the same building which increases collaboration, facilitates interdisciplinary research efforts and provides state-of-the-art technology to enhance teaching and learning.
- The Board of Regents and the University-system President have recognized the importance of maintaining the physical infrastructure of the campuses. As a result, UNK and the other campuses in the system have seen an increase in funding for deferred maintenance.
- Along with the new College of Education building, the recent renovations to Copeland Hall and West Center have addressed many maintenance and repair issues.
- UNK owns 103 acres of farmland adjacent to campus, giving the institution considerable room to expand.
The strengths for the revenue-bond buildings are as follows:
- The recently completed addition to the Nebraskan Student Union has improved the campus environment and increased services to students.
- All rooms in the residence halls are wired for Internet access.
- Although funds remain tight, UNK has completed periodic repairs and upgraded furnishings for the residence halls.
The weaknesses of UNK's physical plant are as follows:
- As discussed previously, UNK has a backlog of maintenance and repair projects. Despite recent increases in funding for maintenance and repair, the current estimate of total projects is $57.8 million for state-aided buildings and $44.7 million for revenue bond buildings.
- UNK was fortunate to secure state funding for several major projects in the past few years, but obtaining funding for additional projects in coming years will be very difficult. The State of Nebraska fiscal crisis appears to be ongoing.
- Many of the student residence halls are aging and in need of renovation. UNK completed the University Residence South and University Residence North facilities in 1991 and 1992, respectively. The other residence halls opened between 1930 and 1967.
- UNK has not been very successful in fund raising to support capital improvement projects.