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Land and Facilities Use Planning Policy

Policy Number T93-122
Effective Date June 10, 2009
Responsible Office/Person Board of Trustees

Doc. T93-122, as amended

Passed by the BoT
Revised: 8/7/02
Revised: 11/16/05
Revised 6/10/09


University of Massachusetts
Land and Facilities Use Planning Policy


This policy is intended to provide guidance in facilities and land use planning at the campuses, in particular with respect to decisions on changes in existing facilities, the construction of new facilities, and the transfer of University property to outside parties.

Facilities planning should be an integral part of the long-range and strategic planning processes, as it affects all aspects of the campuses’ programs and operations. Participants in this process should include strategic planning committees, facilities managers, and physical plant directors. While specific assumptions and criteria may vary for short-term and long-range projects, the long-range objectives of the campus must underlie both. The goals and priorities in the campus master plans should form the basis for all facilities planning and land use decisions, regardless of whether the campus is contemplating changes in existing uses of facilities, the development of unused land, the construction or renovation of new facilities, or the transfer of property to an outside party.

Campus Land and Facilities Use Master Plans
A land and facilities use master plan is for the purpose of establishing a framework for orderly growth and development of capital improvements that is responsive to a campus’ current and projected needs and sufficiently flexible to accommodate changes that can be expected to occur in a dynamic environment. The plan is to describe the optimal development of the available space consistent with the approved mission statement of the campus. The plan is a working document that will require evaluation and updating periodically to ensure its consistency with revised mission statements and with other circumstances. The plan does not constitute a commitment to a specific timetable for the completion of projects. A land and facilities use master plan is a component of the overall planning responsibility of the President, Chancellors and Board of Trustees.

Each campus shall prepare a land and facilities use master plan which should include, but not be limited to:

  • information about the campus’ role and mission and how these relate to facilities and land use requirements;
  • a description of existing land and facilities, including a description of the possible new or revised use of existing land and facilities; 
  • projections of future land and facilities needs; and 
  • assumptions and criteria to meet identified needs.

The plan shall be consistent with the mission of the campus as the mission statement has been approved by the Board of Trustees.

The plan shall be consistent with State requirements for facilities and land use master plans.

The plan shall be evaluated and updated on a periodic basis, including when substantial changes to the campus' mission statement have taken place, or at least every seven years after initial approval of a campus land and facilities use master plan.

The institution's land and facilities use master plan shall be reviewed by the President for consistency with these requirements for land and facilities use master plans, and with the System wide Strategic Priorities established by the Board of Trustees.

The President shall approve the land and facilities use master plan for each campus after said review.

Change in Existing Use

In assessing proposals for a substantive change in the use of existing facilities and/or land, campuses should consider:
The use should be consistent with and should further the goals and objectives of the campus as detailed in the campus land and facilities use master plan and other long-range plans and mission statements.
The short-term and long-range cost implications must be beneficial to the University.
There should be no adverse legal implications for the University.
The use should interface appropriately with neighboring facilities, agencies and communities.
The use should complement existing architectural and functional characteristics of the campus.
There should be minimal adverse impact on pedestrian and vehicular traffic routes.

New Construction or Major Renovation Projects

All new construction or renovation projects with a total project cost exceeding $1,000,000 dollars shall be approved by the Board of Trustees. All new construction or renovation projects with a total project cost between $500,000 and $1,000,000 shall be approved by the President, and all projects less than $500,000 shall be approved by Chancellors.

The President shall establish and maintain guidelines to be followed by campuses in preparing said proposals for new construction or renovation projects. These guidelines shall include but not be limited to statements of how the new project fits with the campus master plan, plans for construction funding, debt service if necessary, and operating funds for the project when completed.

Reserves for Renewal and Funding for On-Going Maintenance of New Facilities

One and one half percent (1.5%) of the total construction cost of all new construction projects shall annually be set aside in a reserve fund to provide funding for the general renewal, replacement and renovation of campus facilities. In addition, an amount equal to three and one half percent (3.5%) of the total construction cost of all new construction projects shall be expended annually for the operational and maintenance expenses, excluding utilities, of the campus facilities; and campuses shall prioritize such spending so as to provide the maximum useful life of all new construction projects.

Disposition of Real Property

The land on which the University is situated is owned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the University is entrusted with its stewardship. The University’s role as steward of this property is crucial, since the prudent use of our limited resources is key to our ability to provide for our future needs and to meet our long-range commitments to the citizens of the Commonwealth.

When a proposed use involves a long-term lease or transfer of land to a non-University affiliated person or organization, final review and approval by the President and Board of Trustees is required in addition to the necessary campus approvals. The President may approve short-term leases of five years or less.

In order to allow for adequate review and analysis, campus proposals for the long-term lease or transfer of University land to a non-University affiliated person or organization must be presented to the Board of Trustees for informational purposes at one meeting and presented at a later meeting for approval. Such proposals should be complete and contain particular findings as to why the property in question is surplus to both the current and foreseeable needs of the University.

Current laws generally require approval by the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAM) and/or the Legislature and Governor of proposals for the transfer of University real property. Proposals requiring such approval must be also approved by the Board in accordance with this policy prior to any submission to DCAM, the Governor, or the Legislature.

Private Use

Any facilities of the campuses that are purchased, constructed, renovated, rehabilitated, improved or otherwise funded by use of funds from a tax-exempt bond issue are subject to limitations as to use by a private party under federal tax law. Private use means the use of such facilities or portions thereof by any individual or entity that is not a state, a political subdivision thereof or integral part of a state or political subdivision thereof, including the federal government and charitable organizations. “Use” can include, but is not limited to, ownership, leasing, management or sponsorship of research occurring in a bond-financed facility. Private use may jeopardize the tax-exempt status of the bonds. The Vice Chancellors for Administration and Finance will ensure that the campuses establish procedures to prevent exceeding limitations of such private use of the facilities that are set forth in the tax certificate delivered by the University to the issuer in connection with the issuance of the bonds, including annually informing the issuer of any private use activities in subject facilities. If a campus has any doubt as to the existence of a private use, it will consult with the issuer of the tax exempt bonds and with bond counsel to the issuer regarding the impact of any proposed or existing use of the facilities on the tax-exempt status of the bonds.

The President shall establish and maintain guidelines to be followed by campuses in preparing proposals for disposition of real property. These guidelines shall include, but not be limited to, identification of the clear benefit to the University of the disposition and how the disposition would support the campus mission and master plan.
University of Massachusetts
New Construction
(Doc. T93-122, Land and Facilities Use Planning)

The University of Massachusetts Trustees, the President and Chancellors will be reviewing over time requests and proposals for capital financing to build new buildings or to make major program-driven building renovations in the University. Approvals of such projects will be contingent on the general requirement that any new building must be consistent with the strategic plans and priorities of the University and the campus and that such new construction must contribute to the mission of a particular campus. Additionally, the following guidelines outline the intensive review and planning process that must be carried out prior to approval of any project:
1. Demand and Use – What level of demand and use studies have been conducted to assure that there is sufficient need for the project to move forward?

2a. Preliminary Funding – Have specific private fundraising activities been carried out or are there specific plans to generate one-time capital dollars (e.g., donations or corporate sponsorships) that will reduce the operating debt cost of the construction?
2b. Is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or the Federal government willing to share in the cost of construction and/or operation in order to support State or Federal policy objectives?
3. Full Costing – What specific plans have been made to budget for a total project cost related to the new building? These project costs include study, design, construction and financing costs?

4. Operational Costs – Please provide a carefully thought out 5-year financial projection presenting anticipated revenues, by source and projected expenditures attributable to the operation of the new building. Expenses should include, at minimum, cost of professional staff, faculty (where appropriate), utilities, annual and preventative maintenance and repairs, and any other cost attributable to the continuing utilization of the facility. Identify what revenue sources you believe will be available in future years.
5. Strategic Plans – How does this building fit in with the master plan of the campus in terms of land and space utilization? Why are existing facilities inadequate for renovation? If any existing programs will move to the new facility, what uses will be made of the vacated space?
6. Collaborative Planning – Will the construction project have an adverse or positive affect on existing campus programs or other campuses’ programs, such as admissions and research dollars?
7. Background Support – What preliminary discussions have been held with senior executives at the campus level, and the President’s Office level, and with Trustees? A chronology of such meetings and discussions should be provided.
8. Debt Service – If debt service is to be incurred, how can this be justified in light of health and safety needs that may be unmet on the campus?
9. Current Health and Safety and Maintenance Issues – How is the campus planning to meet current health and safety issues and provide for maintenance of existing facilities in light of plans for renovations and /or new projects?

The above guidelines are a set of benchmarks and/or specific activities that must be completed before the University will advocate for any form of capital dollar expenditure, whether State or borrowed by the University. Comprehensive reports related to the activities outlined above must be provided before any building project will be approved.

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