The University of Rhode Island is presently comprised of four campuses: the Kingston Campus, the principal location for the University's undergraduate and graduate educational, research, residential and athletic programs, and central administration on 1,300 acres in Kingston; the Narragansett Bay Campus, home of the Graduate School of Oceanography on 190 acres in Narragansett, Rhode Island; the W. Alton Jones Campus, home of the Whispering Pines Conference Center and the University's Environmental Education Center, on 2,300 acres of forested land in West Greenwich; and the University's Providence Center, home of its College of Continuing Education in the newly restored Shepard Building in downtown Providence, Rhode Island.
The University manages the operation of 309 buildings and municipal-scale infrastructure and utility systems which have been developed progressively over the past century. This section of the Self-Study report will address the nature and condition of University facilities, the existing staffing and organizational structure of facility support operations, and an array of initiatives underway to upgrade and improve University physical facilities and their operations and maintenance.
Materials providing an overview of University buildings and infrastructure as well as the site plans and maps of our individual campuses which provide a general perspective of the scale of operations that the University manages are available in the workroom.
Responsibility for the management and operation of University facilities rests with a number of different organizational units:
Facilities and Operations. This department, which reports to the Vice President for Business and Finance, is responsible for the maintenance, operation and cleaning of the Kingston Campus' academic, administrative, and athletic facilities and buildings, grounds, and an extensive utility infrastructure, including a central steam plant and distribution system, high voltage electrical distribution system, and a water supply, storage and distribution system. It is also responsible for utilities management, capital construction, and major maintenance (asset protection) projects on all campuses.
Housing and Residential Life. This office reports to the Vice President for Student Affairs and is responsible for the maintenance, operation and cleaning of the 19 Residence Halls and 3 apartment complexes on the Kingston Campus.
Memorial Union, Dining Services, and Health Services. These operations are responsible for the maintenance, operation and cleaning of their respective facilities on the Kingston Campus and also report to Vice President for Student Affairs.
Narragansett Bay Campus Facilities. The Vice Provost for Marine Programs and Dean of the Graduate School of Oceanography has responsibility for these facilities and provides direct management oversight for the 58 buildings and grounds as well as the ocean-front pier and research vessel operations at the Narragansett Bay Campus.
W. Alton Jones Campus Facilities. The Vice President for Business and Finance oversees the maintenance, operation and cleaning of 61 buildings, roads, grounds and utility systems serving the Whispering Pines Conference Center, Environmental Education Center and demonstration farm complex at the W. Alton Jones Campus.
Providence Center Facilities. The Dean of the College of Continuing Education in conjunction with Facilities and Operations is responsible for the maintenance, operation and cleaning of the Providence Center at the Shepard Building.
The past decade has been a period of considerable plant growth with significant milestones achieved in our academic and support facilities. Highlights include:
More complete information regarding these major improvements can be found in the workroom.
All plans and specifications for University construction and major renovation projects are subject to prior review and approval by the R.I. State Building Commission and the University's Safety and Risk Management Office, which is deputized to represent the R.I. State Fire Marshal's Office prior to the award of construction projects. The Building Commissioner's Office also screens for conformance with building code and statutory requirements such as ADA accessibility provisions.
Any projects dealing with the abatement of asbestos are specified and performed in accordance with the requirements and prior approval of the State Health Department. The University retains standing contracts with a qualified environmental engineering firm and an asbestos abatement contractor.
The Safety and Risk Management Department conducts regular facility inspections of University facilities and responds to calls for possible health or safety concerns. This office manages and maintains fire detection and alarm systems, security alarm systems, fire codes, occupational safety regulations, and hazardous materials regulations on all four campuses. This office also is responsible for the recording, tracking and removal of potentially hazardous substances used in laboratory settings and general operations.
The University operates a well supplied, municipal-scale water system to serve the water requirements of the Kingston Campus in accordance with the requirements imposed upon such systems by the R.I. Health Department including a regular program of water quality testing. This system is maintained by the Facilities and Operations Department.
The University initiated the Asset Protection Planning Process nearly 20 years ago. The Asset Protection Plan has since been widely adopted and recognized as an essential target for investment to preserve the condition and function of state institutional facilities. Annual funding levels have increased substantially over the past decade, with a greater consistency of funding support achieved in the past three years. This funding has permitted improved progress against asset protection needs in our academic and administrative buildings. Priorities for asset protection planning are established in consultation with academic deans, other administrative units, and the President's Team which includes the Provost and the vice presidents.
Program space requirements identified by the academic colleges and administrative departments and overall facility conditions are considered in the process of updating the Capital Development Program on an annual basis. Priority setting is done in consultation with the Dean Council and the President's Team before being forwarded to the Board of Governors Facilities Committee and, in turn, the full Board. Affirmative Action by both the Executive and Legislative levels are necessary for projects requesting General Revenue (G.O.) Bonding to be considered in a state voter referendum. With voter approval, the Board of Governors also retains revenue bonding authority for auxiliary enterprise projects. The Rhode Island Health and Education Building Corporation also has provided an alternate source of higher education revenue bonds for construction and renovation projects.
A Space Allocation Advisory Committee with broad representation from the University community examines space requirements and utilization. It makes recommendations to the Vice President for Business and Finance regarding changes in the allocation of University building space. Among the University departments that provide technical support to the committee is the University Property Office which maintains the complete building space inventory database and associated floor plans.
The information above identifies a considerable amount of new building space which has been brought into operation during the last decade or is under design presently for upcoming construction. These facilities, designed with direct input from the faculty and staff who use and manage them, are providing modern and good-quality space in support of current University programs.
Over 30% of the University's buildings and related infrastructure were built prior to 1958. Two-thirds of the buildings were constructed prior to 1970, with 27 years and more of general wear and tear. These older buildings and associated infrastructure have demanded considerable attention in recent decades, requiring major building envelope and systems repairs and replacements. Renovation and asbestos abatement also have been performed in numerous academic, athletics and auxiliary enterprise facilities. These efforts have been funded from state appropriations for asset protection, revenue bond proceeds, and capital sources in the base budgets of the University and the auxiliary operations in accordance with an ongoing five-year Asset Protection Planning Process.
Two years ago, the University staff closest to the Asset Protection Planning Process identified the need for better user identification of laboratory renovation and improvement needs. The staff turned to the Provost who assisted with the establishment of a faculty-based committee which surveyed laboratory users across the University for project needs and prioritized these projects which have been funded from asset protection sources. This ongoing process has been successful in addressing improvements to animal care facilities as well as a series of laboratory upgrades.
While the University has developed area site plans for new construction projects sited on the Kingston Campus during the past decade, it has not had the benefit of a comprehensive master plan to ensure that these site plans and the character of a building's architectural features fit as well as they should into the overall scheme and infrastructure of the campus. The need for a true comprehensive master plan for the Kingston Campus is essential.
The following capital construction projects are funded and approved to proceed through construction:
Multicultural Center. A 9,950 sq. ft. administrative, social and education facility sited in the center of the Kingston Campus to meet the needs of various multicultural student organizations, services and special programs. The Center is presently accommodated in a leased former fraternity house on the edge of the Campus. Designed by the Urban Design Group. Estimated Total Project Cost: $1,605,204.
Coastal Institute on Narragansett Bay-Kingston Campus Building and Aquaculture Facility. A 46,000 sq. ft., multi-story building complex sited east of the Biological Sciences Building on the Kingston Campus housing Resource Economics research, a high- technology satellite conferencing center, policy simulation lab devoted to departments engaged in research regarding coastal zone issues, and a 10,250 sq. ft. aquaculture lab facility sited adjacent to the Aquarium Facility at the Narragansett Bay Campus. Designed by Keyes Associates. Project supported entirely from Federal U.S. Department of Agriculture sources with required state matching commitment derived from previously G.O. Bond funded URI construction projects devoted to related programs and the appraised land value for the associated building sites. Estimated Total Project Cost: $10,736,000.
Ocean Technology Center. This project involves the design and construction of a 10,000 sq. ft. building on the Narragansett Bay Campus to house the Ocean Technology Center. One-half of the facility will be occupied by the Equipment Development Laboratory component of the center, providing high bay assembly, machine shop space and offices. The second half of the building will provide office, laboratory and meeting space for the Ocean Technology Center. Design work on the project commenced in FY 1995-96 under a contract with William Kite Associates. Estimated Total Project Cost: $1,200,000.
The following projects have been recently approved:
Social Sciences Research Center Addition. The project involves the construction of an addition to the Social Sciences Research Center building containing approximately 10,000 gross square feet of office, computer, meeting and work space in support of expanding sponsored research activity. The single story Social Sciences Research Center building was constructed in 1991 under a design/build contract specifically to meet the needs of the successful Cancer Prevention Research Consortium and several other prominent research efforts in the social sciences. The building was sited with consideration for future expansion options. The proposed addition would involve a two-story "module" (with the same architectural design features) down-slope to the west of the existing building. Total Project Cost: $1,400,000.
Green Hall Major Rehabilitation. This project involves the complete renovation and restoration of this 28,400 sq. ft. building which will be redesigned to serve as a "one stop" student services center for Admissions, Student Financial Aid, Registrar and Bursar operations. Total Project Cost: $ 3,768,242.
Ranger Hall Rehabilitation. Involves the complete renovation and rehabilitation of this 36,300 sq. ft. building with attention to the building envelope, HVAC and plumbing systems and elevator upgrade, while preserving its architectural features. Total Project Cost: $4,640,000.
Ballentine Hall Major Rehabilitation and Addition. The complete project includes an extensive reconstruction, rehabilitation and a 10,000 sq. ft. addition to this 34,244 sq. ft. academic building serving the College of Business Administration. Total Project Cost: $10,600,000.
Telecommunications Initiative. A $40.6M bond issue, which included $29M for URI, was passed in November 1996 which will fund a major investment in new telecommunications infrastructure between buildings and campuses and within buildings, as well as the equipment necessary to bring the newest video and data technology into the computer laboratories, classrooms and offices on the University's campuses. This work has commenced and will continue over a three- to four-year schedule.
A number of initiatives are also underway to enhance the campus environment.
With greater awareness, data and regulations pertaining to wellhead and groundwater protection, the University has undertaken a program of underground fuel tank removal during the last decade. Moving outward from our water supply wells, numerous tanks have been removed and replaced with new above-ground tanks. The remaining underground fuel tanks on the Kingston Campus are scheduled for removal in the next 18 months in conjunction with a major steam plant replacement project.
The University's sand and salt storage facility for road deicing materials was covered with a barn-like structure in addition to the impervious pad that was already in place to prevent salt from leaching from the facility.
The University participated in energy savings incentive programs during the past decade including relamping programs in a number of academic buildings to reduce energy consumption.
A review of the University's recycling program, which was instituted during the past decade, is underway at this time. While the University has had a long-standing program for recycling computer paper and scrap metals, the percentage of the University's overall waste stream that is recycled is less than 10%. Efforts are underway to generate better initial source separation, collections and community consciousness of this program.
The replacement of the University's central heating plant by September 1998 will result in improved operating efficiency, air emissions, fuel storage and steam distribution efficiency.
Beyond the ongoing monitoring and reporting of the operating status of lighting on the main campus by the Campus Police, regular annual surveys are performed with community participation to assess the adequacy of lighting levels and coverage of exterior lighting. An on-call escort service is operated by Campus Security providing ready access to door-to-door transportation during the evening hours around the Kingston Campus.
While the planning processes identifying relative priorities for major building and infrastructure systems improvements have been reasonably effective in addressing the University's most pressing major maintenance requirements first, consultations with the academic deans has suggested that they seek a better understanding and opportunity for better input into the planning process. As the Five-Year Asset Protection Plan is updated in the Spring of 1997, meetings are being scheduled with each of the deans and their staffs to review the evident priorities.
The University's Capital Development Plan, which is updated annually, will continue its emphasis on major rehabilitation projects designed to target capital investment in the total upgrade of its older academic and administrative buildings with the goal of restoring them for the next twenty years of service. It is hoped that the success of the November 1996 bond issue in securing voter approval for over $9M to renovate three major buildings, supported further by an aggressive fundraising effort to enhance further this state investment, sets a trend which will allow us to have a more rapid and comprehensive impact on the goal of revitalizing our facilities than can be achieved through the more gradual investment of asset protection funding.
Campus Master Planning. A broad spectrum of University faculty and administration, lead by the President, are pursuing the development of a comprehensive master plan for the University's Kingston Campus. While there have been some focused studies, the last overall master plan predates the 1970s.
Some initial lead efforts underway include:
Athletic Complex Planning. A consulting engagement is underway to address a future plan for and feasibility assessment for expanded University athletic facilities including those for basketball and possibly an ice arena. The plan will include land use, parking and field relocation issues as well as the integration of related plans including a proposed golf course to the north of the present athletic facilities.
Auxiliary Enterprise Planning and Upgrade Efforts. Each of the auxiliary enterprises have progressed in the upgrading of their physical facilities during the past decade with increased asset protection investments in the Residence Halls and apartments, the renovation and construction of dining facilities, the renovation and addition to the Student Union and Bookstore, and the renovation and addition to the Health Services Center.
The Office of Housing and Residential Life has recently completed a forward looking plan to address a physical and financial strategy to renovate and reconfigure its older residence halls, provide more opportunities for preferred apartment style living, and to provide improved spaces for programming.
Steam Plant Replacement and Steam System Upgrade. Fall 1997 is viewed as a milestone for realizing a long awaited replacement of the University's aged central steam plant and upgrade of the steam/condensate distribution system serving the Kingston Campus. Our current schedule calls for a public/private-partnership to be executed which will result in an estimated $10M privately financed investment to design, permit, build, own and operate the central steam plant to be paid back through the University's annual utility operating budget. The contract will permit the University to take ownership of the facility after twenty years.
Natural Gas and Electric Utility Deregulation. The University is presently engaged with the Rhode Island Department of Central Services in the development of requests for proposals (RFP's) for alternate suppliers of gas and electricity on a competitive bidding basis. This opportunity potentially to reduce fuel and energy commodity prices while preserving reliable delivery of energy services is possible through recent regional actions to deregulate these utilities.
Table of Contents