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					LTSAG: 07.03.08                                                                       Paper B


                                     The University of Edinburgh

                        Learning and Teaching Spaces Advisory Group

                                             7 March 2008

                                     Teaching Room Allocation

Brief description of the paper

The attached paper will be considered by the Space Management Group at its meeting on 28
February. It was also considered appropriate for it to be considered by LTSAG. A report on
the outcome of discussion at SMG will be reported by John Martin if appropriate.

This paper is about the allocation of teaching rooms to either the central room booking pool
or locally to Colleges/Schools. It raises issues around their allocation, particularly in the light
of the ongoing refurbishment programme in the central area. The paper is intended to inform
discussion about the allocation of teaching rooms and how best they might be allocated to
make maximum usage of the teaching estate.

Action requested

LTSAG is invited to discuss the paper.

Resource implications

Does the paper have resource implications? Yes

Making maximum use of all teaching rooms is a key resource issue. In addition, any change
to the balance of central and locally held rooms would have budgetary and staffing
implications both in terms equipment and furniture.

Risk Assessment

None

Equality and Diversity

Does the paper have equality and diversity implications? No

Freedom of information

Can this paper be included in open business? Yes

Originator of the paper

Maureen Masson, Business Manager, Estates and Buildings




                                   Teaching Room Allocation
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Purpose

As the University embarks on a period of major redevelopment over the next 10 years,
particularly in the central area, it is important to clarify the position with regard to teaching
rooms and their allocation to either the central room pool or to a College or School. The
paper is intended to inform discussion about the allocation of teaching rooms and how best
they might be allocated to make maximum usage of the teaching estate.

Background

At the present time there appears to be a ‘mixed economy’ in terms of allocation with no
equity, despite there being a commonly held view a few years ago that Schools should only
retain one seminar/meeting room. The reference area study highlighted this inconsistency
and it was clear that some schools had several non-centrally bookable seminar rooms while
others only had one or two. The issue has again come into focus with the first major
refurbishments of buildings as part of the central area refurbishment programme and there
appears to be no clear precedent as to how new or replacement rooms are to be managed.

For example, the refurbishment of the upper floors of Appleton Tower has led to Informatics
retaining several rooms, some described as tutorial, some as meeting rooms for their own use.
In addition, it seems that agreement has already been reached that the new seminar rooms in
the refurbished Adam Ferguson building for the Management School will not return to the
central pool and that these will be held for the exclusive use of the management school.
There also a working assumption on the part of PPLS that all of the new rooms in Phase 2a of
Potterrow, of which there are 3 rooms with potential to split one room to make 4 rooms
overall, will be School controlled apart from one on the ground floor.

Contrary to this, there was an earlier agreement via the Space Management Group that the
rooms in the newly refurbished School of Social and Political Studies (SPSS) should be
added to the central pool, and discussion is now ongoing about which room should remain in
the control of the School. Priority will, however, be given to SPSS requests up until a date
given by the Booking Unit and conveyed to bookers at the start of the room booking process.
This is the way in which other notional priorities are managed by the booking unit. A similar
discussion has taken place with History and Classics about the new rooms in their refurbished
accommodation when completed, although the School has already guaranteed high usage of
these rooms.

Related factors and issues for consideration

•   Timetabling – although at an early stage of discussion, if the University was to
    implement some form of central timetabling on the back of a review, the rooms to be
    programmed within the system would need to be agreed in order to make the most
    effective use of space. Studies have shown that pooling of rooms centrally is likely to
    lead to most effective use.

•   Access to and priorities for deciding the allocation of high quality rooms need to be
    agreed upon e.g. for Edinburgh First conference business and existing and emerging
    summer schools where there is potential for direct competition for the same rooms.
    Strengthening the pool of high quality rooms available centrally could ease this and
    provide improved planning of different activities by giving greater certainty about room
    availability.

•   Audio-visual equipment and support staff funding budgetary considerations. Currently
    AVTS support installation and running costs in most centrally bookable rooms but not
    locally held rooms. There is, however, a precedent for some Schools to fund equipment
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                                                                                     SMG Paper 5


    in some centrally bookable rooms, where they are predominant users of the room in
    question. While this precedent has existed it has very rarely been used and where it has
    been it tends to cover initial installation only, does not cover recurrent replacement and
    leads to ongoing confusion over ownership and areas of responsibility. It is not a
    precedent that AVTS colleagues would wish to build a new system around. Any change
    to the current balance of rooms would have implications for AVTS budgets for recurrent
    equipment replacement and support staff.

•   There is also a need to properly fund furniture in centrally bookable rooms as that tends
    to be done on an ad hoc basis at the present time.

•   Increasing the number of rooms to the central pool would assist in targeting scarce
    resource to improve the quality of rooms with the highest levels of utilisation. It would
    also quash the argument put forward by colleagues in CMVM that they are unable to
    access funding via the Teaching Areas Refurbishment Programme which is ring-fenced
    for centrally bookable rooms.

•   Pressure is most acutely felt in the central area so is it appropriate to have the same
    general rules at King’s Buildings, Little France and the Bush?

•   Having an increased pool of centrally bookable rooms should provide greater
    opportunities for students wishing to access space for student study.

Action

The Space Management Group is invited to discuss the issues raised in the paper and advise
Estates and Buildings on a consistent policy with regard to refurbished teaching rooms.



Estates and Buildings
February 2008




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