Closure Report

Project Summary

The Study Spaces Provision Project was set up by the Estates and Digital Infrastructure Adaptation and Renewal Team to ensure the work to open study spaces at the start of term 2020 was planned and managed effectively, maximising the number of study spaces available while complying with Scottish Government COVID-19 legislation and Health and Safety Guidance. There were four main strands of work:

  1. Complete the planning work to enable centrally managed study spaces to open at the start of Term 2020
  2. Develop and launch a mechanism to manage study space occupancy and bookings in centrally managed study spaces (EID006 Space Study Management Project)
  3. Identify and open additional study space centres to maximise available spaces 
  4. Provide guidance to enable locally managed study spaces to open in line with centrally managed spaces

The Project set out to:-  

  • Provide students with as many study spaces as possible on return to campus at the start of Term 2020 while adhering to Scottish Government guidelines, principles and legislation around safe use of space.
  • Oversee the implementation of new technology to help manage study spaces
  • Provide guidelines on how we ensure safety and consistency in the operation of student study spaces, irrespective of whether they are managed centrally by ISG or locally by Schools/subject areas. 
  • To mitigate the impact of physical distancing, it was proposed that we have a target to create up to 1,000 new study spaces within a number of new temporary study centres. These centres would typically be re-purposed buildings or office buildings owned by the University. This would include spaces in Schools which are deemed too small for teaching and could be repurposed, as well as other suitable, larger space areas. 

 

Analysis of Resource Usage:

 

Project Management estimated 45 days

Other resource estimated  Unknown

Project Management actual 65 days (+44%)

Other resource actual  828.5 days

 

Explanation for Variance

  • Before study spaces could open there was a lot of physical setup work, including signage, removing desks no longer in use, generating and sticking desk QR codes that could not be done at the same time for all of the  buildings.
  • The Senior Leadership Team decision on 3rd September to ensure all study spaces were managed introduced an additional challenge to identify staff for all buildings during study space opening hours.
  • In early September the Study Spaces Working Group agreed to phase the opening of study centres  to allow the team sufficient time to complete the setup of each building and identify staff who could provide monitoring every hour.

The project was therefore extended by four weeks to enable staff to be secured and the project team to open as many buildings as possible within the new phased timetable.

 

Project Costs

Project & working group

£45,000

IS Facilities

£65,000

Estates

£164,000

SeatEd Booking System

£165,000

Study Space Monitoring

£31,000

 

£470,000

Outcome

  • 1,710 COVID-safe study spaces opened in 18 buildings across campus between September and November 2020
  • A list of all desks, locations, facilities (power, USB socket, height adjustable desk) and whether the desk is in a silent, quiet or noisy area was collated to enable label production
  • QR codes with unique desk names were created and applied to all 1,710 desks
  • One-way systems, signage and cleaning stations were installed in all study spaces
  • Over 92,000 hours of study space are now available to book each week
  • A new booking system (SeatEd mobile app and web form) to enable students to book and check in and out of study spaces was built, piloted and launched. Students must use SeatEd to book a centrally-managed study space
  • Criteria for priority bookers were agreed by the Study Spaces Working Group to ensure low income students, care experienced or estranged students and student parents/student carers can book study spaces two weeks in advance
  • Additional priority groups were identified by the Study Spaces Working Group (widening participation students and students who commute >1 hour to their main campus) and it was agreed that a mechanism to identify these students as priority bookers would be implemented in a future iteration of SeatEd
  • Guidance on safe opening of study spaces was provided to Schools
  • A protocol for staff monitoring study spaces was agreed by the Study Spaces Working Group, including an escalation process aligned with the Code of Student Conduct
  • A development roadmap for the SeatEd booking system was agreed by the Study Spaces Working Group. This includes a mechanism to enable priority bookers to secure bookings two weeks in advance, that is planned for release in late November 2020
  • Discussions with EDINA to explore commercial opportunities are ongoing
  • A new Study Spaces Service has been set up within IS Facilities to oversee the ongoing management of study spaces. The Business Owner is Gosia Such (Director, USD), the Service Owner is Kevin Haddow (IS Facilities Operations Manager) and the Study Spaces Manager is Paul MacLachlan. A Service Transition Plan has been reviewed by the Study Spaces Working Group.
  • 11 WTE staff have been seconded until 2021 to support the new Study Space Manager and Service team. A Study Space Manager has still to be appointed.

 

 

Planned

Actual

Change

% Change

Main Library

645

589

-56

-9%

Vet Library

30

33

3

10%

Murray Library

53

53

0

0%

Law Library

50

66

16

32%

Medical Education Centre

20

12

-8

-40%

Royal Infirmary Library

42

37

-5

-12%

NEW 40 George Square

369

276

-93

-25%

New College Library

21

20

-1

-5%

Murchison House

112

112

0

0%

Moray  House Library

36

40

4

11%

ECA Library

17

17

0

0%

Hugh Robson building basement

61

61

0

0%

JCMB Rm 3210

19

9

-10

-53%

Alison House

13

6

-7

-54%

Appleton Tower

11

6

-5

-45%

NEW Outreach centre

48

37

-11

-23%

Art & Architecture Library, Minto House

15

7

-8

-53%

NEW 7/8 Chambers Street

47

50

3

6%

NEW Adam House

125

115

-10

-8%

NEW Murchison House

176

64

-112

-64%

NEW Fire Station

112

0

-112

-100%

NEW ECCI

73

0

-73

-100%

NEW Teviot Row House

6

0

-6

-100%

NEW Roger Land

2

0

-2

-100%

29 George Sq (Scottish Studies)

8

0

-8

-100%

NEW Chancellor's Court, Pollock

2

0

-2

-100%

NEW Holland House

9

0

-9

-100%

 

2122

1610

-512

-24%

Why were we not able to open all planned study spaces?

  • The original estimates were based on incomplete building plans with limited information about existing desk layout. Surveys done between July and August provided initial capacity estimates which were then refined by building managers  taking into account proximity of desks to one-way systems and other building uses, for example library book stacks. This reduced the number of desks available in a number of buildings and increased the number available in others.
  • The requirement to provide staffing for study spaces meant that buildings with a small number of desks were no longer viable without significant additional costs. This reduced the total by 19.
  • A number of areas that had been identified as potential additional study centres were not available as they were already in use by essential staff or commercial tenants.
  • The Fire Station required additional preparation work to ensure it met Fire Safety and Health and Safety standards and complete desk and PC installation. 100 study spaces are scheduled to open in late November.

Benefits

Benefit

Status

Notes

We should make available as much study space as possible for students on campus, whilst keeping both our staff and students safe in these challenging times

Achieved

1,610 study spaces in 18 buildings open by 28 Oct 2020

We will use current spaces as effectively as we can, maximising the number of spaces in line with Scottish government physical distancing guidelines 

Achieved

All study spaces were surveyed and capacity calculated based on 2m distance. All study spaces have clear signage, one way systems, cleaning materials and staff in place to monitor the area

We will identify, evaluate and open additional study centres

Achieved

An additional 542 study spaces were made available in 5 buildings by 28 Oct 2020, with a further 100 in the Fire Station planned for mid-November. These areas were repurposed from office, teaching and studio space

The requirement for students to check-in and check-out of study spaces will enable us to manage space allocation fairly

Achieved

QR codes added to all study space desks. Students are advised to check in to desks on arrival and check out at the end of a booking. Future SeatEd development will include notifications and nudges to remind students to check in and check out

For some students, for example those from a widening participation background, prioritised access to study spaces will be accommodated to ensure that they have fair access to the technology and wifi necessary to enable them to undertake their studies

Partially achieved

Priority bookers will be able to book study spaces two weeks in advance (all others can book one week in advance) from mid-November 2020. Priority bookers will be identified via EUCLID (low income, student parents/student carers, care experienced/estranged).

There is an aim to broaden the priority booker definition to include other widening participation students  e.g. commuters or student with challenging home environments, however there is currently no way to identify these students through EUCLID and the SeatEd booking system does not currently allow allocation of priority settings on an individual basis

Information will be shared with locally managed study spaces so that a consistent approach is applied across the institution

Achieved

Guidance for locally managed study spaces was shared with Colleges in September 2020. Representatives from the three Colleges have been an integral part of the Study Spaces Working Group to ensure a consistent approach is applied as far as possible across all study spaces

Adaptation of managed spaces process across the entire university spaces will help in effective management and consistency of those spaces in the future

Achieved

Processes for evaluating potential study spaces, set up and staffing have now been established. A Study Space Manager has been appointed within IS Facilities and the  service transition process is in progress

Success criteria

Open centrally managed study spaces in a safe and controlled way at the start of Term 2020

An agreed reopening process and schedule for centrally managed study spaces, underpinned by up to date modelling data to enable centrally managed study spaces to open in phases from 14th September 2020

Achieved

Identify and open additional study centres to maximise available study spaces 

A number of additional study centres should be opened from September 2020, underpinned by up to date modelling data and approved by the Estates and Digital Infrastructure Group

Achieved

Develop technology to manage study space occupancy and bookings and make this available to students

Students are able to find, book, check in and check out of study spaces

 

Achieved

Provide guidance to enable locally managed study spaces to open in line with centrally managed spaces

Guiding principles, prioritisation criteria and communication messages agreed centrally and shared with colleagues in locally managed study centres

Achieved

Student satisfaction (considering current limitations)

Student questionnaire/survey or any other form of feedback (EUSA)

Achieved

Key Learning Points

  • Having the Project Sponsor working closely with the Project Team enabled quick, effective decisions
  • The Facilities team knew the buildings well and were able to make best use of the space
  • Teams across the University worked well together in the Working Group. This included staff from ISG, Estates, Health & Safety, EUSA and Colleges.
  • There was some overlap in remit and membership of a number of groups (Study Spaces Working Group, Adaptation and Renewal Team, Estates & Digital Infrastructure group, Buildings co-ordination group, Senior Leadership Team) which resulted in a lack of clarity around governance (Project Sponsor, Project Team, working groups etc)
  • An earlier decision to phase openings may have helped spread the workload
  • We have an opportunity through the SeatEd booking app to monitor/ learn in the future which types of study space are more popular and this could inform decisions about additional study  spaces. This includes desk characteristics such as pc , height adjustable, large desk, small desk, large room, small room, quiet, vibrant etc
  • For a Smart Campus future, up to date CAD drawings will reduce the need for manual data entry
  • App development was completed in an extremely short timescale. It was recognised that this limited the time available for requirements definition and testing
  • A number of decisions were approved and then had to be revisited after technical feasibility work was completed. It may have been better to have a small sub-group from the business more closely involved during the technical feasibility stage. This may have extended the initial development period, but may have reduced the neesd for some of the changes requested or implemented in the weeks following launch.
  • Additional communication is needed to help students understand how SeatEd works; e.g. instructional videos
  • Communication channels were often slow to get updated. It would have been useful to have a better planned approach to communication so it was less reactive in nature
  • Random desk names may have worked if the geospatial app was available but without this it was confusing as students couldn't find their desk. Keep it simple; use desk numbers
  • We need a separate building desk configuration verification step, once desk labels have been deployed and before it opens
  • We should test the use of the app from within the physical locations used by the students to access the system. COVID-19 has meant this is much more difficult, but students encounter issues we never see given our own home networking environments are clearly different and cannot replicate.

Outstanding Issues

  • Study Spaces in the Fire Station are scheduled to open in late November
  • It is hoped that the Study Space Manager role can be filled through an internal secondment
  • Priority bookers, moving to a 20 hour weekly quota and email notifications are planned to be released w/c 23 November; comms to be planned once details are known
  • Project Risks are now closed with the exception of Risk 10; Funding has not been confirmed for the Study Space service

Project Info

Project
Study Spaces Provision Project
Code
ISG019
Programme
ISG Portfolio Projects (OTHISG)
Management Office
Service Excellence PMO
Project Manager
Karen Beggs
Project Sponsor
Jo Craiglee
Current Stage
Close
Status
Closed
Project Classification
Transform
Start Date
28-Jul-2020
Planning Date
28-Aug-2020
Delivery Date
30-Oct-2020
Close Date
06-Nov-2020
Overall Priority
Higher
Category
Compliance

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