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About the Plan

The scale and diversity of CALS facilities makes the management of this physical resource a significant challenge. CALS has over 450 buildings in Tompkins County, Geneva and across the state, including labs, classrooms, offices, greenhouses, farms, housing, maintenance facilities and other uses. Some facilities are over a century old, while others are still under construction. All of these facilities represent both a substantive resource and a significant financial responsibility.

Over 45% of CALS building stock is considered to be in poor condition, and over 60% of major academic facilities, such as labs and classrooms, are considered deficient or unfit for their current use. Some countryside resources, including farms, fields and other facilities, are underutilized while others need reinvestment. Given the scale of the opportunities and challenges that exists, aligning facility renewal with space use and the academic mission is critical.

The FMP process will help CALS focus resources in support of its academic mission while making the best use of existing and new facilities. Ultimately, the FMP will ensure that CALS facilities align with user needs.

The following six draft principles have provided early direction to the CALS FMP. While there is some overlap within the directions established under each principle, the goal is to ensure the principles are broad-based and mutually supportive. The principles will continue to evolve as the FMP develops and will provide direction for reviewing the planning scenarios.

1. Achieve quality, equity and adequacy of facilities

  • Ensure CALS’s physical environment reflects Cornell excellence
  • Provide adequate space and facilities to departments and units that allow for innovative, effective and efficient operation
  • Efficiently provide space and facilities to match user needs
  • Strengthen state-wide education networks by providing appropriate facilities for enhanced communication

2. Prioritize sustainability

  • Minimize energy use and emissions
  • Support sustainable land management for research, teaching, farming, natural areas and other uses
  • Recognize lands as playing an important role in implementing Cornell’s Climate Action Plan
  • Provide the facilities necessary to meet the campus life needs of students, staff and faculty
  • Prioritize maintenance and building renewal to minimize operating costs and maximize the life expectancy of facilities
  • Ensure that land, facilities and activities work together to maximize knowledge transfer and positively impact local economies

3. Use resources efficiently

  • Ensure that facilities support strategic goals and anticipate future needs
  • Maximize space utilization and rates of use through a comprehensive space management program
  • Ensure increased flexibility in assigning space to effectively meet user needs
  • Provide facilities that support interdisciplinary activities
  • Streamline and upgrade facilities to best meet CALS’ needs and reduce operating costs
  • Cluster appropriate countryside uses to ensure efficiency and promote synergies
  • Conduct regular and rigorous assessments of utilization to ensure effective needs assessment and prioritization

4. Manage the countryside as defined by the Cornell Comprehensive Master Plan

  • Manage the countryside lands for land-based teaching, research and extension, and restrict future campus development and non-rural activities in countryside lands
  • Develop policies to guide strategic land transfer, land swaps or disposal
  • Recognize that not all lands are required for active teaching and research and may be more appropriate for other rural uses (e.g. naturalization, energy production, carbon sinks, farm services, etc.)

5. Integrate with the Comprehensive Master Plan and university goals

  • Ensure new development supports the directions and initiatives of the Comprehensive Master Plan
  • Provide detailed input and direction regarding CALS’ lands and facilities to clarify and refine the directions of the Comprehensive Master Plan
  • Ensure appropriate integration with new users adjacent to CALS, especially in East Center
  • Recognize the need for significant facility renewal and/or replacement in the long term
  • Strengthen the character and landscape of CALS to reflect the identity of the College and university
  • Identify possible collaborations with other colleges and university units for efficient facilities development

6. Strengthen facilities planning and space management practices 

  • Align program enhancements and capital project initiatives to ensure comprehensive and transformative capital projects
  • Ensure capital projects respond to academic goals and priorities, rooted in a comprehensive assessment of need and building condition
  • Adopt space planning and allocation processes that are managed and implemented by the College
  • Ensure space management policies and practices that address allocation practices and focus on effective use of space
  • Adopt operational practices that reflect the true cost of space
  • Ensure facilities needs assessments balance all aspects of the College’s mission including teaching, research and extension