Founded as a land-grant university in 1872, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) is the largest university in the Commonwealth of Virginia with an enrollment of about 26,000 students. It has also become the Commonwealth's leading research institution and one of the top 50 in the nation in terms of research expenditures.
Take Me Home Country Roads
Located in the rural community of Blacksburg, Virginia (where the students double the population of the town during the school year), Virginia Tech is about 38 miles southwest of Roanoke, Virginia, in the New River Valley. A rural university spread out over a wide area, Virginia Tech comprises 337 buildings-all of which are now ARCHIBUS-managed.
Before implementing the ARCHIBUS Space Management module in 1995, graphical representations of space usage were done manually. Students were hired to hand-color room data on blueprint drawings-if any change occurred, it would all have to be done over again. The cost of labor for this time-consuming and frequently repeated process of updating the blueprints, ultimately, made the automation possible.
When a project came up that guaranteed a lot of shuffling around, Thomas Tucker, ADA Facilities Project Coordinator and Systems Manager, University Architect's Office, says, "We decided we could pay for the software in the labor costs saved paying the students to color in the drawings-so we used that project to implement ARCHIBUS."
Funding Plays Hard to Get
Because funding is harder to get these days, facilities tracking has become increasingly important to the academic community. The University receives capital project funding from the Commonwealth's General Assembly based on space it already has and how that space is being used. Precise facilities data is needed to justify requests for future space.
The process of obtaining precise facilities data was hampered not only by the laborious manual updating of blueprints but also by the "dozens of different facilities databases in dozens of departments in dozens of applications," says Richard Stock, Project Manager for FM Application, Administrative Information Systems Group, who joined the FM project about a year ago. "There was a lot of duplication of effort. The same data existed in different forms with different levels of accuracy in which there was no level of confidence. Effort was being wasted in maintaining them all." The combined experience of Tucker and Stock is making possible a well-organized and ambitious course of action, escalating the automation of the University's facilities and exceeding Tucker's expectations.
Proof of the Pudding is in the Eating
The benefits of the initial automation and the desire to move all University systems over to an Oracle client/server environment inspired even greater challenges. Rather than implement additional modules one at a time, Tucker and Stock decided to add ARCHIBUS Real Property & Lease Management, Furniture & Equipment Management, Telecommunications & Cable Management, Overlay for AutoCAD® with Design Management, and FM Web Central all at the same time. Over the course of the past year, the goals for the FM project have become clear: 1. Consolidate redundant, multiple databases into a common, shared database that will improve data quality and timeliness of reporting and will also enable more sophisticated analysis of data. 2. Make the new, consolidated database accessible through one application, simplifying data access and maintenance. 3. Move the common database to an Oracle client/server environment.
From Manual Reporting to the WWW
ARCHIBUS Web Central has proven to be very critical to what they are doing at Virginia Tech. Since the goal is to have each department maintain its own portion of the database, the Vice Provost is working with the deans of the various colleges within the University to get them the data they need to manage their facilities themselves. They will obtain this data over the Web using ARCHIBUS Web Central. "The effort now is to consolidate all data into one shared database. Each department can maintain its portion of it-quality of data becomes so much better," Stock concludes.
The changes being put in place by Tucker and Stock will enable University administration to "accrue efficiencies and economies" in the management of space all across campus. It could be viewed as a case of the total being greater than the sum of its parts-the reduction in the duplication of tasks, the dollar savings in labor costs, the increased integrity of facilities data, and the connectivity of ARCHIBUS Web Central are changing the way the University does business.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
337 buildings (all ARCHIBUS managed)
|ARCHIBUS Applications: |
Real Property & Lease Management
Furniture & Equipment Management
Telecommunications & Cable Management
Overlay for AutoCAD® with Design Management
FM Web Central
|Impetus for Implementation: |
Transfer to Oracle client/server environment; need to simplify process of data access and maintenance, and to consolidate multiple, redundant databases.
|Benefits Gained: |
Improved data integrity; timely space reporting; simplified data access and shared maintenance.
|Future Plans: |
All departments will access ARCHIBUS via the Web and maintain their portions of the database.
|Business Partner: |
|Web Site: |
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