POL-U5710.02 Administering Institutional Space

Dates and Approval

Effective Date:

September 28, 2022

Approved by:

President Sabah Randhawa

Who does this policy apply to?

This policy applies to any person or entity occupying or using space or real property that is owned, leased or managed by the University. 


Institutional space is a limited, shared resource integral to meeting the University’s mission and advancing its strategic priorities. As a limited resource, effective utilization of space is essential to meet the University’s commitment to student success, critical thought, creativity, and sustainability. As the University is a dynamic entity, the priorities and need for space by administrative units and programs changes over time. Effective administration of institutional space is key to optimizing the full value of the resource. This policy provides a framework for the allocation, use, and management of the physical space inventory in service of the University’s mission and strategic priorities.


Institutional Space

All space, including real property, that is owned, leased, managed, and/or funded by the University and its operating units.

Real Property

Land and any buildings, structures, and equipment permanently attached or fixed to the land.

Space Assignment

A conditional and temporary permitting of space to a person or administrative unit for a specified use or function.

Specified Use

Use of space that conforms to the purpose for which the space was allocated and authorized in alignment with the functional use type recorded in enterprise systems.

Vacant Space

Empty space, or space no longer used for its specified and assigned purpose.

Policy Statements

1. All Institutional Space is Owned and/or Managed by the University

All institutional space and real property are owned and/or managed by the University, regardless of the funding source for original construction, renovation, maintenance, or lease expenditures. There is no ownership of, or rights to, space by individuals, departments, colleges, or divisions whether these entities are state funded, self-sustaining, or auxiliary.

Although space is assigned to divisions, colleges, departments, auxiliaries, and individual users, it is a collective responsibility among all employees to be good stewards of and manage space responsibly, consistent with all relevant University policies, standards, procedures, and guidelines, including but not limited to:

POL-U5710.01 Managing Access to University Facilities Policy

POL-U5315.25 Reporting Loss of University Funds or Property Policy

POL-U5346.01 Managing and Safeguarding University Assets Policy

2. The Board of Trustees (BOT) Approves the Acquisition of Institutional Space

In accordance with the Bylaws of the University’s Board of Trustees, the Trustees may:

  1. Acquire real or other property needed for the operation or maintenance of the University as provided in RCW 28B.10.020, and
  2. Through the WWU Foundation, receive bequests of real or personal property that will aid in carrying out University programs as well as sell, lease, or exchange such property except as limited by the terms and conditions thereof.

All space and real property acquisition, lease, and disposal transactions must be processed through the University’s Contracts Administration.

3. President’s Cabinet has Ultimate Decision-Making Authority Over the Management of Institutional Space

President’s Cabinet has ultimate authority to manage institutional space, however, appoints the Capital Planning and Space Advisory Committee (CPSAC) to serve as Advisory to the Cabinet.

The CPSAC, supported by the Space Planning, Administration, and Management team (SPT) within the Facilities Development and Operations department, is charged to:

  1. Propose standards, procedures, and guidelines to administer the policy,
  2. Evaluate institutional space to inform and facilitate space planning,
  3. Plan for efficient use and development of institutional space in service to University priorities, and
  4. Make recommendations to the President’s Cabinet regarding space requests and institutional space planning and management.

4. Decisions Regarding Institutional Space will be in Support of the University’s Mission and Strategic Objectives

All space assignment is dynamic, conditional, and temporary. Current allocation and location of space does not imply permanence and can be changed based on emergent, short term, and long-term needs of the University.

Departmental or operating unit effectiveness will be a high priority in decision making. Additionally, the University desires to foster a greater understanding between departments/units as well as a more innovative, collaborative, and creative work environment. As such, the University will embrace opportunities to locate programs, services, and staff in a manner that facilitates these goals.

To avoid duplication of space, equipment, and services, and avoid unnecessary costs, space shall be shared as much as feasible while considering potential impacts to programs, services, and operations.

It is recognized that for some institutional spaces and real property there may be limitations on types of specified use due to funding source. When the limitations are no longer in force the University may choose to repurpose the space.

The allocation and reallocation of space will be:

  1. Based on the University’s mission and strategic priorities, and
  2. Conducted systematically according to standard and/or procedures during which affected units and individuals will be consulted.

Decisions requiring review will be referred to the CPSAC. Appeal of decisions rendered by the CPSAC may be appealed to the relevant authority, up to the President's Cabinet.

5. President’s Cabinet May Delegate Authority to the CPSAC and Space Planning, Administration, and Management Team

President’s Cabinet approves standards, procedures, and guidelines which will define decision making authority:

  1. Reserved for President’s Cabinet and the Board of Trustees, and
  2. Those delegated to the CPSAC and SPT to administer the policy including, but not limited to, reviewing space requests and recommending the reallocation of space as needed to support the University’s mission and strategic plans.

Decisions regarding space requests and reallocation may be appealed to the relevant authority, up to the President’s Cabinet.

The Director of Business Services is the administrator of all University leased space. Use of leased space is to comply with the current contract/agreement. Any needed changes to leased space must be facilitated by Contracts Administration.

6. New Space Requests to be Submitted to Space Planning, Administration, and Management Team

When new University programs and activities are established or operational needs change, department heads or their designee may initiate a request for new space or space modification with the support of their Vice President. Space requests, supported by a Vice President, are to be submitted in accordance with standards and/or procedures. Requests will be reviewed and approved in accordance with the policy, standards, guidelines and/or procedures.

Leased space requests are to be processed through Contracts Administration.

7. Changes to Functional Use of Space, Space Capacity, or Renovation Require Pre-Approval

It is essential that the University maintain an accurate inventory of space for planning, building code compliance, and emergency responses. Facilities Development and Operations serves as the University’s facility and space data reporting authority and shall maintain detailed records for all facilities including an inventory of all space utilized by the University.

When there is a need to change the functional use type, capacity, or make physical renovations to assigned space, the department head, to whom the space is currently assigned or their designee must submit a Space Modification Request. An example of a change in functional use is converting a storage space to an office or vice versa.

Responsibility for assignment and reassignment of space will follow University, Division, and Auxiliary organizational hierarchies.

Space vacated by a physical move or made available due to renovation or new construction is allocated back to the University for re-allocation through the CPSAC. Likewise, space vacated due to a reduction in program size, reduction in workforce, or program elimination is also allocated back to the University for re-allocation in the same manner.

Requests will be reviewed and approved in accordance with procedures and applicable standards and/or guidelines. Decisions requiring review will be referred to the CPSAC. Appeal of decisions rendered by the CPSAC may be appealed to the relevant authority, up to the President’s Cabinet.

8. Personal Use of Institutional Space or Real Property is Limited

Personal use of institutional space and property is limited to the conditions set forth in the Using University Resources policy (POL-U1500.08).

Under no circumstances are individuals, including employees, or external entities permitted to use institutional space or real property, including leased space, for conducting external business activities without the written consent of an authorized University official in accordance with applicable policy, rules, and procedures including but not limited to:

  1. For long term leasing of University space see: 
    • WAC 516-34  Leasing University Property for Business Purposes
  2.  For short term event rental of University space see: 
    • POL-U1000.06   Scheduling of Facilities by Off-Campus Groups Policy and
    • WAC 516-36  Use of University Property—Scheduling and General Use