3.11.3 Physical Facilities

The institution operates and maintains physical facilities, both on and off campus, that appropriately serve the needs of the institution's educational programs, support services, and other mission-related activities.

Judgment of Compliance

PVAMU SACS Accreditation - Judgement Compliance

Narrative of Compliance

Prairie View A&M University operates and maintains physical facilities that appropriately serve the needs of the institution's educational programs, support services, and mission-related activities. Under the Vice President for Business Affairs, the Office of Campus Master Planning and Space Management [1] and the Physical Plant [2], which includes Facility Maintenance, Campus Maintenance, Utilities [3] and Construction and Planning [4], make sure that facilities are used appropriately and kept in optimal condition.

Primary Facilities
Prairie View currently operates a main campus consisting of 1424 acres with 440 developed acres and the remainder used for agricultural extension and research operations. The main campus houses 100 permanent buildings, which contain over 2.3 million gross square feet (gsf) of space. In addition, there are 19 buildings in remote locations consisting of 31,633 gsf of space for the Northwest Campus, the University Center-Woodlands, Lone Star College—Cy-Fair, and the 53-acre H.S. Estelle 4-H complex in Huntsville. When looking at the university's threefold mission of research, teaching and service, 51,424 gsf are dedicated to type 250 and 255 research laboratories, 868,989 gsf to educational and general use, and 16,892 gsf to service for the agricultural outreach programs at the 4-H camp complex [5]. A detailed listing of all campus facilities is available online from the Integrated Campus Planning System, maintained by the Texas Higher Education Board (THECB) [6].

Needs of the community were addressed further by the 2000 Office for Civil Rights (OCR) Priority Plan. This document proposed four educational and general use buildings to increase available classroom and laboratory space [7]. The Electrical Engineering building, Nathelyne Archer Kennedy Architecture building, College of Nursing building, and Don Clark Juvenile Justice and Psychology building all support the overall increase in student population directly related to programs launched in the past ten years.  These programs include master and doctoral degrees in the College of Engineering, the creation of a separate School of Architecture with a five-year master program, master degrees in the College of Nursing, and establishment of the College of Juvenile Justice and Psychology, with multiple new master and Ph.D. degrees. Together with the Elmer E. O'Banion Science building and the new auxiliary building, the Willie A. Tempton Sr. Memorial Student Center that efficiently unites dining services, enrollment management, student activities offices, the campus bookstore, a small computing lab, and a large auditorium under one roof, a total of 1,055,283 gross square feet of space have been added to the campus.

Although Prairie View previously maintained residential student housing, in 1996 the university partnered with American Campus Communities (ACC) through a privatized housing agreement to construct a total of four housing complexes with 3,348 available beds.  Phases I, II and III are housing units offered for sophomores, juniors and senior students.  Phase IV is a multi-faceted complex exclusively for freshman students in the holistic University College program described in detail in Comprehensive Standard 3.4.9. Filled to 94.2% capacity in Fall 2008 [8], the Phases are managed and maintained by ACC [9].

Campus Master Plan
Prairie View A&M's master plan is a strategic tool for assessing university space needs.   Projects are incorporated into the master plan based on the results of the THECB survey, the work of focus groups, and internal strategic planning. Because campus development also impacts the community-at-large, public hearings are held as the master plan is developed. This document provides a comprehensive guide for campus development, analyzes specific characteristics of the campus, and develops goals to enhance and preserve these elements as campus facilities are being constructed [10].

The latest Campus Master Plan, updated in 2000, considered projected student enrollment increases under the Closing the Gaps plan of the THECB. Between 2005 and 2009, gross square footage went from 1.87 million to 2.44 million, an increase of 30% [11] [12]. New facilities were planned with attention to using land responsibly, maintaining open spaces, keeping the campus pedestrian-friendly, providing smooth vehicle circulation, and providing adequate parking. The master plan included not only building projects for education, administration, and athletics but also the demolition of twelve outdated facilities. Of the twelve buildings targeted for demolition in the master plan, eight have been removed from the campus and one is in the process of being demolished under the capital plan, described below. The remaining three facilities contain over 28,000 educational and general use square feet needed for students while renovations, deferred maintenance, and/or replacement buildings are completed. 

Demolition and renovations are primary components of Prairie View A&M's Capital Plans, which are created in compliance with TAMUS Policy 51.01 [13]. For FY2009-2013, board-approved projects include final repairs to the exterior of the John B. Coleman Library, completion of veterinary clinic renovations, replacements of high-voltage underground switches [14], and demolition of the L.O. Evans building. The University also has proposed funding levels of $2 million each year for general upgrades, renovations, and repairs [15].

Space Management
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) uses annual Space Projection Models and room utilization rates to judge the adequacy of universities' physical resources and need for requested construction projects. In the Fall 2008 model, Prairie View A&M had slightly more office space and much more teaching space than expected; library, research, and support space fell below projections [16]. From 2007, however, when the University had a deficit of 20,488 square feet, the overall deficit in 2008 improved to just 1,334 square feet [17], which shows that facilities increasingly are meeting basic space needs. Furthermore, the University utilizes its current classroom space effectively, ranking above the average, at number 18 out of 35 state institutions, for classroom utilization in Fall 2008. Utilization rates for classroom laboratory space, while below the state average, were at a five-year high in Fall 2008 [18].

Both the space model and utilization rates are considered in requests for new facilities or building projects. Campus Master Planning and Space Management has formalized a process for requesting space. All requests for new space start with a form that asks for the type of space, capacity, remodeling needs, funding, and "negative consequences if this request is not favorably considered" [19]; each form requires approval and signatures from the responsible Dean, Director or Vice President. After space management evaluates the request, its recommendation is forwarded to the Vice President of Business Affairs, who evaluates and makes a recommendation to the University President. Final decisions rest with the president. If renovation or new construction costs will be incurred, space management coordinates scope definition and cost estimates as part of the review process. The requesting department must fund all work associated with its space request.

Relevant policies followed in any construction project include Texas A&M System Policies 25.07: Contract Administration [20] and 51.04: Delegations of Authority on Construction Projects [21], and PVAMU Administrative Procedure 40.13: Administration of University Construction and Maintenance Projects [22]. Construction and planning has additional supplemental policies for accounting, project scope, consulting, contracts, and inspection [23], publishes bid opportunities on its webpage [24] [25], and maintains multiple forms to track projects and to assess the quality of work performed [26].

Routine Maintenance
In all maintenance activities, Prairie View follows Texas A&M System Regulation 41.05.02: Management of Buildings and Other Improvements [27]. The Physical Plant is responsible for maintaining most campus facilities, infrastructure, and grounds. To meet its mission, the Physical Plant is subdivided into four major sections: Construction and Planning; Utilities; Facility Maintenance, which includes Building Maintenance and Custodial Services; and Campus Maintenance, which includes Grounds and Transportation [2]. Infrastructure formula funding from the state covers education and general use space, but full operation requires additional monies from available University funds and designated tuition.

The Physical Plant uses two computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS). Since 1999, the Building Maintenance and Grounds Departments has used a TMA maintenance system [28], while the Central Utilities Department uses Sprocket, implemented in 2006 as part of an awarded HVAC maintenance contract [29] [30]. Both programs automatically process preventative (PM) and routine maintenance. Preventative maintenance work orders are loaded in the respective systems on a planned schedule, and such work orders are generated on Friday for the previous week. Routine / demand work orders are received through phone calls, emails, in person, through a General Maintenance Request Form [31], or through a Service Request Form [32] and then put into the respective system to generate a work order.

PMs are performed on a significant percentage of the University's key utilities equipment, particularly restrooms, while routine work orders tend to involve building maintenance.  From the inception of Sprocket in September 2006 through August 20, 2008, 2,014 out of the 2,409 work orders completed (84%) have been for PM work, whereas 85% of the orders completed in the TMA system have been for routine / demand work orders. The overall completion rate for all TMA work orders submitted since the system was implemented was 94.1% (12,557 of 13,351 entered). 

Deferred Maintenance
Together, the Director of Space Management and the Assistant Vice President for the Physical Plant are responsible for scheduling, reviewing, and coordinating deferred maintenance activities. The Physical Plant employs a variety of inspection programs focused on identifying deficiencies in infrastructure, building systems, equipment and building finishes, such as its 14-page guide for roof maintenance and inspection [33]. After inspections, personnel create a capital renewal and deferred maintenance list that is reviewed annually to prioritize items and to identify required funding. Recently, for example, the Physical Plant completed a $21 million rehabilitation project that replaced underground utility piping and two 1100-ton chillers, retrofitted lighting, and upgraded the energy management systems in most of campus buildings.

Two deferred maintenance reports, the MP2 and MP4, must be submitted annually to the THECB. The current MP2 (assessment of deferred maintenance and demolition needs) lists 29 non-critical projects for fiscal years 2009-2013 with a total cost of $13,630,000 [34]. MP4 reports (deferred maintenance expenditures) show that $5,309,000 was spent in FY2007 and $1,390,000 in FY2008 [35] [36].

Prairie View is conscientious about handling deferred maintenance needs, particularly in the last five years. By comparison, Prairie View A&M University's MP2 total was $27,605,193 for 2004-2008, with an MP4 amount of just $588,773 for FY2003 [37]. $15 million in extra funds designated in the 2000 Office for Civil Rights (OCR) Priority Plan to complete deferred maintenance assisted the university in these accomplishments, along with a $6 million Texas LoanSTAR loan for improving energy efficiency [38] [39].

Distance Education Facilities
As Prairie View A&M University expands course offerings both online and at distant locations, the institution is committed to maintaining budget lines, planning, and policies to provide necessary resources and appropriate facilities for student success. According to the THECB Space Model 2008, Prairie View had 8,174 square feet of space devoted to computing and telecommunications, with an additional 741 sf of space for related services [40]. More specifically, the leased space for the Northwest Center in Spring, Texas has two computing facilities with a total of 32 student workstations, as described in Core Requirement 2.9, two rooms equipped for full videoconferencing, and a dedicated distance services librarian, office coordinator, and computer technician. Although the building landlord performed any needed classroom maintenance, the center has its own operation and maintenance lines, as well as a requested amount for expansion, in the FY2009 operating budget [41]. Pending approval by the THECB, Prairie View hopes to offer additional master degree programs in counseling, accounting, community development, nursing, and educational administration to complement the existing courses [42].

The College of Nursing building, completed in 2006, has state-of-the-art technologies in several of its 23 classrooms and 3 large lecture halls, specialized simulation labs, two student computing labs, and a laptop program that works seamlessly with the facility's wireless network. College staff include a systems analyst, telecommunications technician, simulation computer engineer, network technician, and operations supervisor to ensure smooth operation of technology [43], particularly with the TTVN (Trans Texas Video Network) that delivers interactive video lectures to students at the remote site in College Station, operated by Texas A&M University. The TTVN 2005-2006 Annual Report found over 1000 logged videoconference hours for the College of Nursing [44], and in 2006-2007, seven nursing courses were delivered to students in College Station via TTVN [45]. As described in Comprehensive Standard 3.4.12, systems for streaming videoconferencing services are located in Room 123 of the O'Banion Building and 1A108 of Hobart Taylor and maintained by the Office of Distance Learning [46].

Because adequate computing facilities are crucial for distance education programs, in FY2007, Prairie View A&M spent $1.7 million on new computers, over $900,000 on computer equipment (not including printers), $975,000 on software, and $760,000 on telecommunications equipment [47]. In FY2008, the University invested $1.78 million in computers, $940,000 in software, and $1.1 million in maintenance and repair of software programs [48]. Further evidence for the institution's commitment to distance education programs can be seen in the FY2009 operating budget, with line items for operation and maintenance of information technology services, technology enhancement, and TTVN system support [49].

Customer Surveys
Based on a suggestion from auditors in 2004, most divisions under the Physical Plant and Campus Master Planning and Space Management now have online survey instruments tailored to their services. Feedback forms for Facility Maintenance [50], Custodial Services [51], Grounds Maintenance [52], and Central Utilities [53] ask about satisfaction with response times, professionalism and image of workers, and communication with the customer. The Construction and Planning Department administers multiple questionnaires to gauge satisfaction with timelines, communication [54], architects and engineers employed on major projects [55], and interactions between the Department, vendors, and clients [56].

Supporting Documentation and Links

Comprehensive Standards 3.11.3

© 2009 Prairie View A&M University