Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commision on Colleges – Fifth Year Interim Report

7. Physical facilities [CS 3.11.3]

Standard 7: The institution operates and maintains physical facilities, both on and off campus, that appropriately serve the needs of the institution’s educational programs, support services, and other mission-related activities. (Comprehensive Standard 3.11.3)

Status: In Compliance

Berea College operates and maintains physical facilities adequate to serve the needs of its educational programs, support services, and other mission related activities. The College has 1.6 million square feet of building space in 45 buildings on a campus of 120 acres (Campus Map). The College also owns 1,400 acres of farmland used in its Agriculture and Natural Resource educational program, residential and commercial facilities that financially support the institution, and 8,000 acres of forest which support recreation and the educational mission of the College and serve as the watershed for three local reservoirs that provide water for the City of Berea and Southern Madison County.

Berea has a comprehensive program to maintain physical facilities. This plan includes:

  • day-to-day on-request and emergency minor routine maintenance of buildings and systems;
  • routine inspection of facilities and scheduling of major building repairs;
  • a Campus Master Plan that provides planning guidelines and is updated every 8-10 years;
  • a Berea College Land Use plan that addresses all College-owned properties outside the campus proper; and
  • a renovation schedule that includes residence halls, academic buildings, and service facilities.
  • a commitment to environmentally sustainable construction and renovation.  Renovation and construction standards are in place to assure buildings are equivalent to at least a LEED Silver standard.  Recent renovations have included a LEED Gold rating for the Boone Tavern renovation and LEED Silver certification for Lincoln Hall.  Most renovations do not seek certification, but designers and contractors are held to similar standards.

Under the direction of the Office of Operations and Sustainability, the Facilities Management department is responsible for campus facilities and grounds. The department employs forty technicians, custodians, groundskeepers, and support staff. The campus community can submit requests for services via the campus intranet e-mail system, by telephone, campus mail, or in person.

In addition to routine maintenance, Facilities Management conducts regular inspections of facilities and prepares condition assessments for buildings on the campus. This list includes major systems replacements such as roof, air handling systems, etc. Funds for these repairs come from the annual operating budget or are incorporated into upcoming renovations. In addition, the Operations and Sustainability Office prepares a twenty-year plan of capital projects and renovations. The Five Year Capital Projects Schedule is updated regularly and approved by the Administrative Committee, and board of trustees which considers the physical condition of the buildings and academic priorities.

Building projects are coordinated by a project team composed of building users, faculty, staff, students, the Director of Facilities Management, and the Vice President for Operations and Sustainability. Design professionals are recommended by the project team, and selection is made and contracts are awarded through the Operations and Sustainability Office. Individual project plans and budgets are approved by the Administrative Committee, the Buildings and Grounds Committee of the Board of Trustees, and the full Board. The Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees and the full Board approve the funding plan for each renovation.

Renovation planning considers the design guidelines established by the Campus Master Plan, the low-energy building renovations standards, and the technology standards approved by the Administrative Committee including a LEED Silver basic level of sustainable renovations.. An updated sustainability plan, adopted by the Board of Trustees in February 2011, will guide the College’s efforts to continually reduce consumption of natural resources and move toward carbon neutrality in its operations while more assertively incorporating sustainability into the campus culture. To date, Berea has reduced its consumption of energy (as measured in total BTU’s purchased) by 50% from 1998 levels.

Berea recognizes the potential of effective technology use to enhance the educational process and provides ready access in facilities via a network system. All buildings are on the campus network, and newly renovated academic and residence hall buildings provide a technology-rich environment for teaching, living, and learning.

The College Land Use Plan provides guidelines for land use outside the campus proper. It establishes the current and future use of lands to remain as agricultural/green space, and it establishes guidelines for potential development sites that protect the environment and make appropriate use of the land. Requests for the use of the land are considered by the Administrative Committee and finalized only when approved by the Berea College Board of Trustees.

The Director of Facilities Management solicits feedback from its campus customers and uses this information to make improvements.  For example, a 2008 survey was constructed to gain an increased knowledge of the campus population aimed at allowing a better understanding of priorities, attitudes and perceptions. The resultsindicated that while overall satisfaction was generally good, two areas of needed improvement were indicated:  1) maintenance and cleaning of residence halls and 2)   a work order system that is easier to use and facilitates communication.  The following changes were made as a result of this assessment:  1) Facilities Management has become more involved in training Facility Assistants in the residence halls, 2) additional student labor was added to the maintenance staff to improve maintenance in the residence halls, and 3) we are in the process of purchasing a new Work Order Management System.

Supporting Documents and Evidence

  1. Campus Map (Website) <>
  2. Berea College Farm (Website) <>
  3. Department of Forestry (Website) <>
  4. Campus Master Plan, 2005
  5. Land Use Plan, 2001
  6. Renovation Schedule, September 2010
  7. Office of Operations and Sustainability (Website) <>
  8. Facilities Management Department (Website) <>
  9. Residence Hall Building Assessment, October 2009
  10. Academic Building Assessment, December 2009
  11. Administrative Committee Members (Website) <>
  12. Renovation Standards
  13. Technology Standards: Network Infrastructure Design Specification and Guidelines
  14. Facilities Management Customer Satisfaction Survey Results

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