Higher Education Environments

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


  • 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 This is doubly true when considering that crucial HVAC and building management systems (BMS) are often outdated and in need of replacement.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.

  • Bowling Green State University Business School

    Not Just Business As Usual

  • 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

  • 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.

  • Cleaning and COVID-19
    A custodial worker using an electrostatic mister to clean an office.

    Combating COVID-19 with Electrostatic Misters

    This cleaning process provides more thorough coverage, essentially leaving no place for germs and pathogens, including those that cause COVID-19, to hide.

  • facilities
    Learning in Lounge Areas

    Extending the Classroom

    Learning is no longer restricted to the classroom or the library. Increasing the use and appeal of the space in between classrooms and other traditional learning environments can play a key role in teaching and learning.

  • maintenance
    Handling Restroom Vandalism

    Tips for Handling Restroom Vandalism

    There may not be a good answer as to why restrooms are vandalized, but there are products and methods available to help with discouraging the act.

  • technology
    Adapting to online instruction

    Adapting to Online in a Pinch

    Ideally every institution would be prepared for teaching continuity before an incident occurs. The following recommendations can be helpful even if your institution is already in the midst of a switch to remote teaching.

  • Parking
    Technology for Campus Parking Centers

    Data-Driven: How Customer Service Platforms are Improving Campus Parking

    What do your students complain about? Fair or not, parking is usually near the top of the list. To handle those complaints, many campuses are turning to parking-specific customer service platforms to support their automated parking operations.

  • Maintenance
    Cleaning for COVID-19

    COVID-19, Cleaning and Schools

    School and campus administrators throughout North America are very concerned about coronavirus and its impact on their facilities, students, teachers and staff. And there is good reason.

  • Maintenance & operations
    Healthy Cleaning

    A Response to COVID-19: Cleaning for Health

    As coronavirus concerns mount, what should administrators and cleaning professionals know?

  • energy efficiency
    EV Charging Stations

    How EV Chargers Help Campus Energy Ecosystems Evolve

    Electric vehicle chargers are much more than a plug-and-play upgrade to the old gas pump.

  • transportation
    Autonomous Shuttle Vehicle

    Autonomous Technology: Transforming the College Experience

    Autonomous shuttles could make transportation around campus easier for students, instructors, staff and visitors.

  • facilities
    North Carolina School of Science and Math Morganton Greenway

    Master Planning the Outdoors: Spaces for the Life of a Campus

    Some common strategies and parallel considerations are at play in all master planning for the outdoors. Each campus must first be approached on its own terms, free of predispositions on planning.

  • Sustainability

    To Push the Envelope on Sustainability, Push the Envelope

    Architects continue to design buildings much the same way they always have; yet, a carbon-free future will require new practices, namely true, front-loaded integrative design.

  • COVID-19
    parking payment stations at exit

    Frictionless Parking: Promoting Campus Public Health During This Pandemic

    Frictionless parking can promote public health by dramatically reducing the number of common touch-points within a garage or parking lot.

  • Editor's Note

    Resources for Remote Learning

  • outdoor learning water play space

    Learning Potential in the Outdoors

    For students of all ages, carefully planned outdoor learning areas and features can become an integral component of education.

  • custodian cleaning wall

    COVID-19 and The Custodial Training Component

    Issues impacting the ability and training of cleaning contractors vary in different settings and situations. However, all of them must be overcome, and urgently, if we are going to get on top of the COVID-19 situation.

    Parking Guidance Systems

    Simple Parking Guidance for Colleges and Universities

    Parking guidance also offers tremendous administrative benefits to colleges and universities by keeping track of how their parking assets are being utilized.

  • facilities
    Carl H. Lindner School of Business at the University of Cincinnati

    Future-Oriented and Sustainable: Business Schools of the Future

    How can good design contribute to better campus life? The opening of the Carl H. Lindner College of Business at the University of Cincinnati unlocked a new view to the future.

    Improving Campus Mail Delivery

    Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Intelligent Parcel Lockers Streamline the Campus Mailroom

    Is your campus mail center seeing a backlog of incoming packages? Intelligent parcel lockers can provide a positive student experience.

  • Parking and Transportation
    Ridesharing on Campus

    Let's Share a Ride: Promoting Carpooling on Campus

    When students, faculty or staff carpool, the end result is less congestion on campus roads and a greener campus. The key to promoting carpooling is in your students’ hands.

  • Higher Ed Technology
    audio visual

    3 Ways AV Can Draw People to Campus

    Today’s audiovisual experiences reflect a digital world that strongly appears to tomorrow's higher education students.

  • Higher Ed Services

    Bundling Auxiliary Services

    There is opportunity to better deliver on your institution’s mission. A new approach to the organization of service lines involves bundling the outsourcing of auxiliaries work.


Sponsored Content

Smart Lockers Now and Beyond the Pandemic

Campus operations of all kinds were severely impacted by the pandemic, as were many of the habits and expectations of students, parents, faculty and staff. Some of those changes, it appears, will outlast the pandemic — including advances in the way packages are delivered and tracked on campus. Read this Q&A with the Editor to find out more.