Space Allocation

Last Revised: Monday, August 15, 2005

Responsible University Administrator: Vice Chancellor, Business & Finance

Responsible University Office: Facilities Planning & Construction

Policy Contact: Jack Dohrman


This policy applies to all property owned and operated by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL).

Policy Statement

Space allocation is driven by the following principles:

  • Space is a limited resource of the campus and is not owned by divisions, departments, or current occupants. However, the advantages of assigning continuous space for accreditation requirements and/or programmatic needs will be taken into account.
  • Space will be allocated according to the strategic academic, research, and outreach priorities established by the campus.
  • Academic programs and departments will be given priority in space allocation.
  • Space allocation and reallocation procedures should be transparent and affected programs and individuals should have the opportunity to participate; however, the ultimate responsibility for allocating space at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln rests with the Chancellor.

Space Inventory and Requests for Space Assignments
The Office of Institutional Research and Planning is responsible for the maintenance, periodic review and evaluation of the official inventory of space coding, use, allocation and assignment. Each unit is responsible for providing current information on the use and assignment of space allocated to it to Institutional Research and Planning.

Review of specific requests and proposals for space assignments is the responsibility of the Space Planning Advisory Committee (SPACe), and administrative committee reporting to the Chancellor. The Office of Institutional Research and Planning will be the central receiving agency for all space requests. The Space Planning Advisory Committee will review space requests and provide recommendations to the Chancellor, Vice Chancellors, and/or Senior Administrative Team, as necessary for assignment or reassignment.

Allocation of Existing Space
Decisions on the reallocation of occupied space at all administrative levels will be based on campus and program priorities, strategic plans, the Physical Master Plan for the campus, and overall need. The Chancellor may reallocate space that is underutilized or required to address an important campus priority or strategic need. In such cases, the SPACe committee will develop a plan for the reallocation of the space which shall be reviewed by the Academic Planning Committee (APC) and Council of Deans and approved by the Chancellor. 

Space vacated by a physical move, renovation, or new construction is allocated back to the campus. Likewise, space vacated due to a reduction in program size, reduction in workforce, program elimination, or reduction in grant-funded research is also allocated back to the campus. It is the responsibility of the Office of Institutional Research and Planning to evaluate the type and the condition of vacated space and to update the official space database accordingly. The Office of Institutional Research and Planning will review potential uses of the space consistent with the strategic and physical master plans, existing outstanding space requests and proposals, current campus space utilization of classroom and laboratory space, and recommend future assignments to the SPACe committee. The SPACe committee will review the recommendation, consult with the Chancellor, Senior Administrative Team, and/or Council of Academic Deans, as necessary, prior to forwarding the recommendation to the Chancellor for the assignment of the space. The cognizant Dean or Vice Chancellor of the college or unit vacating the space can request continued possession provided a strategic justification is provided.

Management of space allocated to an academic or administrative unit is generally the responsibility of the leading Vice Chancellor, Dean, or Director to manage. In most cases, responsibility for managing departmental or unit space is delegated to the unit chair, department head, or IANR Facilities Director. It is the responsibility of the unit to ensure space assignments are optimized for the best and most effective use. Units are encouraged to assign and configure assigned space to maximize utilization and align use with strategic goals. Unit managers may allocate or reallocate general academic space within their assigned category (e.g. offices, classrooms, labs); however, notification to the Office of Institutional Research and Planning regarding changes in departmental office assignments is essential to ensure the official space database remains current.

Allocation of New Space
The allocation of new space is considered by Deans, Directors, Vice Chancellors, and the Chancellor through descriptions and justifications included in program statements. The allocation of new space that is to be supported by state appropriation is also reviewed by the APC. The APC reviews program statements developed for capital projects with budgets of over $100,000 and recommends them to the Chancellor. These recommendations can include comments on general or specific space allocation issues that may involve the reassignment of space vacated by programs assigned to new space. As in the case with the reallocation of existing space, the proposed assignment of new space is evaluated against campus-wide space needs, current campus utilization of classroom and laboratory space, academic program priorities, the strategic plan, and the physical master plan of the campus.

Space Planning Advisory Committee (SPACe)
The Space Planning Advisory Committee is an administrative committee reporting to the Chancellor. The Committee is charged to review assignments, utilization, policies, proposals, and other issues relating to institutional space. Specifically, committee duties include:

  • To review existing space allocation and usage and make recommendation for space assignments, re-assignments and optimization of use;
  • To review outstanding space requests and proposals for space and recommend future assignments to the Chancellor, Vice Chancellors, and/or Senior Administrative Team; and
  • To periodically review the IRP space database, utilization statistics, and other productivity measures and reports and provide appropriate recommendations on the utilization and allocation of space and to recommend related policies to the Chancellor, Vice Chancellors, and/or Senior Administrative Team

Members of the Space Planning Advisory Committee shall consist of the following:

  • Director of Institutional Research and Planning (Chair)
  • Campus Planner
  • Senior Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Representative
  • Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources Representative
  • Vice Chancellor for Research's Representative
  • Facilities Representative (as required)
  • Registrar (as required)

Reason for Policy

Space is a central resource of the campus. The allocation of space is conducted in a consistent and strategic manner designed to optimize the productive use of this resource, and to advance the missions and strategic priorities of the campus.


  • This policy was reformatted in 2020. No content edits were made.