Space and facilities

The University of Alberta has the largest inventory of land and buildings than any other research-intensive institution in Canada. Our Integrated Asset Management Strategy guides us in managing our extensive grounds and structures with a focus on our core mission: reducing reliance on leased space and appropriate renewal of buildings.

Under UAT, the space and facilities initiative will review all operational costs associated with all university spaces, facilities, and estates and determine how to better optimize space usage.

The University of Alberta is facing a number of competing priorities in a challenging fiscal environment. Importantly, internal analyses revealed that the U of A has 50 per cent more research lab space and over 25 per cent more office space than comparable U15 post-secondary institutions across Canada. At the same time, the university has almost 500 buildings across 5 campuses to operate, maintain, and renew, with a forecasted deferred maintenance liability of  more than $1 billion by 2025. Thus, the challenge facing the university is to reduce our physical footprint by up to 30 per cent.

This data and the current context underscores the importance of reducing the university's volume of buildings, tightening the space planning and oversight, and shifting the culture at the university to support a more efficient approach to how assets are used and maintained. 

The Facility Optimization Oversight Committee 

The Facility Optimization Oversight Committee has been established to set the priorities and leverage comparative analyses of other U15 institutions in order to: 

  • Support the reduction of research lab space, administrative office space, and decanting of appropriate buildings
  • Support the retirement of assets that no longer functionally meet the academic or research mission of the institution or are a significant risk of failure due to their condition. 

While Facilities and Operations has decision-making authority for facility and space decisions, advice and guidance from the Facility Optimization Oversight Committee is crucial to ensuring clarity and consistency in messages and actions. The following will inform the committee’s work:

  • U of A for Tomorrow priorities and strategic direction
  • Service Excellence Transformation initiatives and framework
  • Comparative analyses of U15 institutions focused on: 
    • Transforming the university's approach to space management
    • Enhancing capital investment planning and decision-making
    • Coordinating a campus-wide space consolidation program
  • Space Optimization Strategy
  • UAPPOL space policy
  • Integrated Asset Management Strategy