Project Spotlight: INTS 4120 Renovation

As a growing school, the School of Public Policy (SPP) was faced with the issue of not having adequate space for anticipated faculty and staff hires. The current space, meager in quantity and layout, was simply not conducive to promoting a cross functional, collaborative and high performing team.

SPP submitted a project request to renovate INTS 4120 through CPMS.

spp logo

Project Goals

  • Transfer staff from six (6) private offices to a shared space allowing for these offices to be used by faculty (new hires).
  • Leverage industry trends regarding open concepts.
  • Create a space conducive for cross-functional teams.
  • Provide adequate space for anticipated staff growth.
  • Provide ergonomically friendly workstations for staff.

Before Pictures

SPP space before renovation

SPP space before renovation

Project Scope

In designing the space, SPP was very conscious of the campus’ efforts around maximizing and optimizing space therefore various design layouts were considered. Several SPP staff including campus stakeholders visited the bkm OfficeWorks Headquarters in San Diego, CA to help inform and solidify some of the design elements. This step was important since it gave staff an opportunity to participate in the design process as well as first-hand experience what the space could look like, and most importantly, how it would function. The final design layout leveraged industry trends around creating a more open environment/flexible space with some minor variations to accommodate the business needs of the school. 

In order to maximize the space, SPP worked with Architects & Engineers to design a layout that would accommodate 10 open floor plan staff workstations with “sit-to-stand” workstations to provide maximum ergonomic flexibility for staff.  The space also accommodates seven (7) flex hoteling stations for student office assistants, interns, and ambassadors. The final layout also includes a small conference room in this space that accommodates group meetings up to six (6) individuals. Consequently, this space layout freed six (6) private offices previously occupied by SPP staff to be used for SPP faculty new hires, and also accommodated four (4) new SPP staff hires who joined the SPP team in September 2015.

The space was completed in September 2015. The space is currently used to house several very critical functions for the SPP and operates as shared space.

  • SPP’s Student Affairs and Academic Advising Center supporting both graduate and undergraduate public policy students.
  • SPP Administrative, Research, and Center Support Unit which provides direct support to SPP’s associated Centers and Initiatives.
  • The marketing and communications team which also includes support for the Dean’s Student Ambassador Program.
  • Temporary Visiting Scholars.

Space After the Renovation

 SPP space after renovation

SPP space after renovation

Space Management Principles and Learnings

The School of Public Policy utilized shared spaces and high-density space to provide for staff and faculty needs. The renovated space has provided an increased level of team collaboration, individual and team accountability, and a greater sense of teamwork. Often, the staff play light background music in the space as it helps to lighten up the mood while creating low emitting white noise.

The open space concept provided an opportunity for a centralized business work center as it currently uses one main unit for copying, scanning and printing. This unit is also centrally located to meet surrounding faculty with their copying, scanning and printing needs.  As faculty often come-in to retrieve their jobs, it provides a quick opportunity to engage with the staff.

The space has also allowed for an increase level of cross-training and back-up support for the staff since they sit by and with one another and often share information/or brainstorm quick solutions to problems.

Shared-space is not necessarily suitable for confidential conversations so the staff often leverage a small conference room in the space for student advising or meetings that would be a disruption to the larger group. Additionally, it is important to establish some values for how to engage in this type of environment since it can get noisy if staff are not respectful of the shared space environment.