Texas State earns high score in classroom, lab space utilization

Assistant News Editor

Texas State earned the highest possible marks for classroom and lab space utilization from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for 2012 and 2013, which indicates a lack of space at the university, officials say.

Preliminary data from the THECB shows Texas State ranked highest for space utilization along with three other Texas public universities in 2012. The coordinating board looks at utilization, demand and average percent fill when determining scores, said Nancy Nusbaum, associate vice president of Financial Services and Planning. To determine the utilization score, the number of classrooms the university has is divided by the total number of classes held.

“We’re exceeding what the coordinating board wants us to do with classrooms and class labs,” Nusbaum said.

Texas State has received the highest possible score for classroom and lab space utilization for the last four years, if not longer, Nusbaum said.

Out of 46 Texas public universities under the coordinating board’s jurisdiction, four of them earned the highest score for space efficiency, said Thomas Keaton, director of Finance and Resource Planning for the THECB.

A classroom should be occupied 38 hours per week under the THECB standard, Nusbaum said. Texas State’s classroom unitization score was 39 hours per week from 2013 preliminary data, she said.

To determine the category of average percent fill, the coordinating board counts how many students are enrolled in a class compared to the number of seats in that classroom, Nusbaum said. The university receives the highest score for that category if a classroom is 65 percent ful or more. Texas State averaged 72 percent fill from 2013 preliminary data.

Laboratory space is measured with the same categories, Nusbaum said. Texas State scored 83 percent fill for laboratory space, she said.

Texas State has 217 classrooms and 104 class labs on record for fall 2013, said Chris Reynolds, Facilities Inventory coordinator in an email.

“(A high score) shows that the university has a very efficient use of their facilities which helps to keep all costs down and allows more assets to be (used) in a more flexible manner to meet the needs of the student population,” Keaton said.

The assessment shows the university is utilizing space well but proves the institution needs more space on campus when it exceeds the standards, Nusbaum said.

“This really proves that we need more labs,” Nusbaum said.

Although the university is not awarded anything for earning the highest score, it is more likely to have a construction project with classrooms approved by the coordinating board, Nusbaum said.

Texas State’s high score will also help the university’s proposal to legislators to approve tuition revenue bond financing for new buildings, such as a Science and Engineering building or Health Professions building, said Provost Eugene Bourgeois.

“It puts us in a better position to argue for additional funding to build new academic buildings on our campus,” Bourgeois said.