Higher Education Environments

Resources and information on educational facilities for professionals serving the college and university market.


  • Sustainability

    The HYDRO Building: Where Water Conservation Meets Preservation

    In hopes of revitalizing the 200-year-old Colorado National Western Center, the Hydro building is a transformative, civic-centered, living laboratory that connects the urban core of Denver to the rural communities across the region through water literacy and conservation. As one of three signature buildings on the Colorado State University (CSU) Spur campus, Hydro reflects the water-focused research, education, and policy-making inside.

  • Smart Lockers

    A Case for Campus Mailroom Efficiency

    The vast majority of university mail service centers were constructed prior to the advent of the digital age. Now, in the days of social media and same-day shipping, receiving or sending a letter in the mail is an uncommon occurrence, while online shopping and package delivery have seen a meteoric rise.

  • New Construction
    Northeast Lakeview College STEM Facility

    Our New STEM Facility Changes the Game for Students

    After several years of planning, design, and construction, we proudly opened the doors to Paluxy Hall at Northeast Lakeview College in August 2022. Situated on our 267-acre campus, the 80,000-square-foot facility provides students with the resources and support that they need to achieve success in science, engineering, technology, and math (STEM) fields.

  • Learning Space Design
    futuristic classroom

    The Future of Learning Environments: Flexibility, Simplicity, Connectivity

    Spaces4Learning recently convened a panel of ed tech experts to discuss how technology and design can help create a better learning experience for all students — and how institutions can plan, design, and assess their own vision for the classroom of the future.

  • Indoor Air Quality

    Helping McMaster University Adapt its Buildings for the Future

    McMaster University is using technology to better control and manage its legacy thermal systems and create smarter buildings. Carmichael Engineering Ltd., a Canadian systems integrator, worked closely with ABB Canada’s leading experts and its highly adaptable smart building platform, ABB Cylon®, to improve energy efficiency, enhance user adaptability, and leverage innovative technologies in locations across campus.

  • Predictions & Trends

    Spaces4Learning 2024 Predictions for Educational Facilities: Part 2

    We asked our readership to send us their predictions for 2024 trends in educational facilities. Across K–12 and higher-education campuses both, we asked for opinions on topics like technology, flexible learning spaces, campus safety & security, disaster response, and more. This article is the second in a three-part series compiling responses from educational professionals and vendors.

  • Predictions & Trends

    Spaces4Learning 2024 Predictions for Educational Facilities: Part 1

    We asked our readership to send us their predictions for 2024 trends in educational facilities. Across K–12 and higher-education campuses both, we asked for opinions on topics like technology, flexible learning spaces, campus safety & security, disaster response, and more. This article is the first in a three-part series compiling responses from educational professionals and vendors.

  • Facility Focus

    Facility Focus: Kirk Kerkorian Medical Education Building, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

    The Kirk Kerkorian Medical Education Building (MEB) is the flagship facility for the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV and serves as an anchor for future expansion within the city s burgeoning medical district. With a diverse program that supports learning and collaboration at many scales, the new facility—the med school’s first permanent structure—allows the school to double its graduating class from 60 to 120 students and help address a shortage of healthcare professionals in the state.

  • Facility Focus

    Catawba College Completes Renovation Project on Center for the Environment

    At Catawba College, home of the first certified net-zero campus in the Southeast and only the seventh in the United States, the Center for the Environment (CENV) features the Environmental Studies Department’s hands-on research laboratory. Built more than 25 years ago, the building needed major systems and aesthetics revitalization.

  • Campus Infrastructure

    Enabling the Future of the Campus Experience

    This strategy for campus renewal and modernization was top of mind for the University of New Hampshire (UNH) as it embarked on one of its most significant infrastructure improvements in recent history––relocating a substantial portion of its utility distribution network connected to the Combined Heat & Power Plant (CHP).

  • New Construction

    Here's a Transformative Trend in America that Must Not Be Overlooked

    Construction activity on university campuses in America is more than noteworthy. In fact, it is being categorized as transformative! Due to a massive increase in students after COVID-19, a construction trend is sweeping college and university campuses in response to the high demand for more housing.

  • Facility Focus

    Facility Focus: WSU's Woolsey Hall Shapes Next Generation of Business Leaders

    Home of The Barton School of Business, Woolsey Hall at Wichita State University (WSU) bridges the traditional academic campus with a newer complex of makerspaces, labs, and research facilities.

  • Facility Maintenance

    Can Outsourcing Solve Higher Education’s Operational Challenges?

    Today’s higher education institutions are faced with a myriad of operational complexities in the pursuit of academic excellence. Staffing, student well-being, maintenance, sustainability, and operations management challenges have only been amplified by the pandemic, decreasing enrollments, aging infrastructure, and funding constraints. The operating environment of educational facilities has undoubtably become more stressful.

  • Campus Amenities

    Solving the Challenges of Printer Jams, Card Waste, and Long Lines at the One Card Office

    NC State University One Card offices face tough challenges trying to serve tens of thousands of students, faculty and staff. Every person needs an ID card to access various aspects of campus life, from entering residence halls and other buildings to linking to debit accounts and proving student status to participate in university activities. One Card office challenges include improving printer efficiency, reducing card waste, and eliminating the hassles of having to visit one central location to pick up cards.

  • Campus Amenities

    Esports: The Next Great Space to Learn

    Schools across the country and world are incorporating esports or competitive videogaming into their curriculum—even offering full and partial scholarships—to meet the growing popularity and demand of virtual sports.

  • Campus Safety

    Five Considerations for Your Emergency Communications Plan

    Communication is the lifeblood of any emergency response. Whatever events are happening and whatever your response is, the information must be communicated to the appropriate people.

  • Facility Focus

    Achieving Sustainability Through Historic Preservation at Washington University in St. Louis

    Constructed in 1922 to house the School of Law, January Hall is a three-story granite and limestone building that helped shape the identity of the Danforth Campus at Washington University in St. Louis. While iconic, it was inefficient and did not meet the university’s accessibility or sustainability standards.

  • Facility Focus

    Francis Tuttle Technology Center: Danforth Campus

    The Francis Tuttle Technology Center, one of the premier career training schools in Oklahoma, enlisted architecture and design firm Bockus Payne in the creation of the Francis Tuttle Danforth Campus in Edmond, Okla.

  • Editor's Note

    The Slow Return to Normalcy

  • Kreher Agriculture Center exterior

    Kreher Agriculture Center

    Grand Prize 2021 Education Design Showcase

  • Facility Focus
    drawing of John and Joan Bollier Family Center for Integrated Science and Engineering Gonzaga University

    Creative Curves Distinguish Both Design And Study At Gonzaga University

    The John and Joan Bollier Family Center for Integrated Science and Engineering completes a 270,490-square-foot quadrangle of buildings aiming to enhance interaction between students and faculty of the School of Engineering and Applied Science and the College of Arts and Sciences.

  • COVID-19 and Schools
    Stimulus Funding and School Infrastructure

    How Stimulus Funding Can Tackle School Infrastructure Updates

    As schools and universities prepare for the return of students and faculty after nearly a year of remote learning, many are faced with growing concerns around how to keep facilities safe in the post-pandemic world. This is doubly true when considering that crucial HVAC and building management systems (BMS) are often outdated and in need of replacement.

  • May 2011 killer EF-5 tornado that hit Joplin, MO

    Tornadoes, Shelters and Tubes, Oh My!

    Twister. Funnel. Whirlwind. A tornado by any other name is still considered the deadliest and most destructive natural disaster on earth. Occurring on all continents except Antarctica, tornadoes have both terrified and fascinated mankind for centuries. The U.S. averages almost 1,300 tornadoes per year, more than all other continents combined. How do we protect ourselves when a tornado strikes? It is this question that has driven architects, engineers and the construction industry to develop codes and guidelines such as ICC 500 and FEMA P-361. These guidelines, at least in part, will help to ensure the proper construction of tornado shelters in order to save lives.

  • Fellows Hall at Williams College

    A Home Away From Home: Fellows Hall at Williams College

  • IAQ
    ERVs recovery system

    Safeguard Schools Against COVID-19 Efficiently via Energy Recovery Ventilation

  • Bowling Green State University Business School

    Not Just Business As Usual

  • Solar Energy
    Professor Randall Ellingson receives grant from U.S. Air Force

    U Toledo Developing Solar Sheets to Generate Power in Space

    The University of Toledo just received a five-year, $12.5 million grant from the U.S. Air Force to develop flexible solar cell sheets for space. The photovoltaic energy sheets will be used to collect solar energy for powering Earth-based receivers or other orbital or aerial instrumentation, such as communications satellites.

  • COVID-19 and Schools
    University of Virginia

    University of Virginia Combats COVID-19 Outbreak

    The University of Virginia reported 121 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, Feb. 15, and 229 new cases on Tuesday, Feb. 16. The university has announced a new set of health and safety regulations that are set to last through at least Friday, Feb. 26.

  • Podcast
    Schools In Focus: Talking Campus Security with Mitch McKinley

    Schools In Focus: Talking Campus Security with Mitch McKinley

  • Podcast
    Schools In Focus podcast logo and Mike Wolf and Ron Wendorski

    Schools In Focus: Indoor Air Quality

  • Business
    Accountant using a calculator.

    Looking Beyond Personnel Reductions for Cost-Cutting Solutions

    It will be critical for institutions to look at new ways to generate revenue and reduce expenses that are sustainable and effective. There are several initiatives that institutions can consider or implement in response to the crisis.

    Schools In Focus podcast logo on the left and Ishita Banerjii

    Schools In Focus: KSU’s New Multicultural Student Center

    Ishita Banerjii, project architect at Hollis + Miller, discusses Kansas State University’s new multicultural student center. The building, dedicated to advance student diversity, features various gathering spaces like dance studios, huddle rooms, and a commercial kitchen.

  • Reader Survey
    reader survey

    The Ongoing Impact of COVID-19 Policy in Education

    COVID-19 has changed and will continue to change every aspect of education in K–12 and higher education for the foreseeable future. We polled our readership to learn of the experiences taking place across the nation and get a glimpse of what's being planned going into the spring 2021 semester and beyond.

    Schools In Focus Podcast logo and headshots Turan Duda and Jeff Paine.

    Schools In Focus: Centering Student Health and Wellness In Design

    In this episode of Schools In Focus, Turan Duda and Jeff Paine, founding principals of Duda|Paine Architects, discuss how architectural design is shifting to better address the mental and physical health needs of students.

  • Acoustics
    Office spaces at Scott Hall.

    Retrofitting University Buildings for Sound Masking

    When a physical space offers a little passive noise control, such as high cubicle walls, private offices or softer, sound-absorbing materials, the effects on the well-being of each person — as well as their productivity — can be profoundly impacted.

  • Full Facility Aerial From North Credit Paul Kennedy

    Facility Focus: Northwestern University Walter Athletics Center and Ryan Fieldhouse

    The complex itself, an impressive structure wrapped in glass, aluminum, and limestone on the northeast corner of the Northwestern campus, right on Lake Michigan—an enviable site not only for the dazzling lake view, but also for its proximity to the campus’ student residences, classrooms and other facilities.

  • Cleaning & Sanitizing
    Teacher disinfecting classroom desks.

    Are We Disinfecting Too Much?

    Will a more methodical, well-thought-out approach be implemented for disinfectant use or, will they be once again randomly applied, essentially using a “hope for the best” mentality? Let’s hope application is not random, and here is why. In the U.S., disinfectants are considered “pesticides” by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and rightly so.

  • Episode 5
    Schools In Focus Podcast logo and Stu Rothenberger

    Schools In Focus: Rethinking Higher Ed Spaces

    Stu Rothenberger, Principal at DLR Group, discusses flexibility on a campus scale, the need for long-term resiliency plans, tackling equity issues, and creating smaller interaction spaces in a post-COVID19 learning environment.

  • Maintenance and Operations
    A row of fitness equipment.

    Keeping Campus Rec Areas and Equipment Clean During a Pandemic

    As universities begin to welcome students back, directors of college recreational centers will need to develop plans, policies and protocols to maintain a safe and healthy environment. The many “moving parts” that make up college recreational center operations present some unique challenges for maintaining a safe and clean facility.

  • Worker on roof adjusting solar panels.

    Six Key Factors for a Successful Solar Project

    Several colleges and universities are pursuing solar solutions for two major reasons: to save money on energy costs and/or to meet sustainability goals through renewable energy projects. Whether you’re already pursuing a solar solution or just starting to consider your options, there are some important considerations to keep in mind, as well as certain factors that go into the most successful solar projects.

  • Design-Build
    academic design and construction

    Why Design-Build Merits Serious Consideration for Academic Design & Construction

    The academic sector is the perfect use case for exploring how design-build is the best delivery system for mitigating risk, increasing the speed of delivery, lowering costs, and delivering great design – all through a simpler, more collaborative process.

  • Facility Focus
    Northwestern University sports facility

    Northwestern University: Walter Athletics Center and Ryan Fieldhouse

  • Editor's Note

    A New Back-to-School Experience

  • Industry Spotlight
    Group of students seated next to each other.

    Q&A with the Editor: Tim Nyblom and Dave O’Driscoll, HID Global

    We spoke to HID Global's Tim Nyblom, End User Business Manager - Higher Ed, and Dave O’Driscoll, Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives, about cloud and mobile technologies that will be important when universities reopen in the fall and in the next few years.

  • Planning and Design
    Austin Community College, Elgin Campus. Photo by Mark Menjivar.

    Design Considerations for Supporting Student Resiliency

    How can higher education institutions incorporate student success in their resilience planning process as they consider future impacts on campuses? And how can design professionals use their knowledge and skills to support this effort?

  • Reopening
    A woman student wearing a face mask looks at her phone while a few feet away a male student wearing a face mask looks at a book.

    Q&A with a Facility Services Expert: Protocols for Reopening Colleges and Universities

    As colleges and universities make plans to reopen facilities in the fall, higher ed decision makers must consider a variety of issues while COVID-19 continues to spread in communities across the country. A facility services expert shares strategies and protocols used to ensure a healthy environment for students, faculty and staff.

  • Facilities
    NC State University’s Talley Student Union

    Design for Post-Millennials: How Gen Z Is Shaping Higher Ed Spaces

    They are the first generation to be immersed in technology since birth, experiencing it as an extension of daily life. As future Gen Zers progress through our learning institutions, their characteristics, wants and needs will further shape K-12 education environments, university campuses and future workplaces.

  • Student Housing
    Young woman sitting at a desk looking at her laptop in a bedroom.

    Out of the Cloud: The Future of Student Housing

    Just as our homes have once again become the epicenters of our lives under quarantine — leading us to consider and re-evaluate their design — student housing facilities will likewise undergo massive changes in response to new hygiene concerns and lifestyle desires of students and their families.

  • COVID-19
    Empty classroom. Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay

    UPDATED: Resources for Educational Facilities During COVID-19

    With COVID-19 changing the educational landscape each day, school and college decision makers need all the help they can get during this global crisis. Here are some resources on everything schools and colleges need to consider regarding educational facilities, construction, design and planning of new facilities, maintenance, managing employees and much more. (Updated 5/13)

  • Reopening Schools
    A woman architect looking at blueprints with her laptop open.

    What Schools and Colleges Have to Rethink for Fall 2020

    The fall of 2020 will be different. Nobody knows for sure what it will look like, but most would agree that it will be different, which raises many questions for those of us involved in the construction and design of academic facilities.