Texas State’s crunch for land has forced the university to be one of the most space-efficient higher education institutions in the state.
Texas State should have more than 2.9 million square feet of space supporting its current level of students, according to the space model formula designed by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. However, the university falls short at 1.8 million square feet. Bill Nance, vice president for Finance and Support Services, said space at Texas State has to be used very efficiently because of the square footage deficit.
Thomas Keaton, director of Finance and Resource Planning for the THECB, said space usage efficiency is a measure of how institutions use classrooms and laboratories. Keaton said institutions that use classrooms and laboratories most efficiently tend to have a large square footage deficit. The formula to determine space usage efficiency takes into account the amount of research conducted in different facilities and the number of faculty and full-time students at the institution.
Nance said it is an indication that a university was overbuilt if it has a surplus of square footage. He said the state legislature tends to “frown down” on those institutions.
Joe Meyer, director of Institutional Research, said the state does not want to pay for facilities that are not necessities. Keaton said there are five public higher education institutions in the state with a square footage surplus. The total statewide space deficit is 13.8 million square feet.
Keaton said the need for space is considered when institutions request tuition revenue bonds from the legislature to construct new buildings.
Nancy Nusbaum, associate vice president for Finance and Support Services, said the legislature gives priority funding to universities with large space deficits. Nusbaum said a tuition revenue bond has been requested for the new science and engineering building.
Nusbaum said multiple new projects slated for construction will add square footage and decrease some of the 1.1 million-square-foot deficit according to the Campus Master Plan. She said a new music recital hall and additions to Commons Dining Hall will reduce the deficit by 28,000 square feet. Nusbaum said the science and engineering building would help reduce the deficit as well.
“(The calculations tell us) we do not have enough space for everything we teach and do on our campus, which is true,” Nusbaum said.
Texas State has to efficiently use what square footage it has because there is not enough space. Nusbaum said space efficiency at Texas State exceeds the coordinating board’s expectations.
Meyer said the university received a perfect score of 200 for space usage efficiency. He said the state average is 167 out of 200. Meyer said Texas State uses classrooms 38 hours per week and class laboratories are used 36 hours a week.
Nance said it is a goal to find funding for new buildings in order to reduce the university’s current space deficit. However, he said there is no target amount of funding to be gained or square footage to add to campus. Nance said the space deficit has been a concern since the 1970s.