Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Notes from Capital Planning Projects Information Session, April 10, 2017

Dr. C Bovis-Cnossen, Provost and Vice-President Academic and M. Milovick, Vice-President Administration and Finance, welcomed attendees and made the following remarks:

  • This information session is about the capital planning process at TRU, not about past projects.
  • Last capital plan had OM expansion, ITTC and Nurs on the list. Looking now for new projects – new buildings or major renovations.
  • This event is being livestreamed.

M. Milovick noted that The Reach’s first project will be a market condo building on campus. Over time TRUCT will develop 90 acres. This is part of the campus master plan. There will be road construction this summer. A communication plan is in the works which will update our campus community. Twitter ‘@TRUBuilds’ for updates. Between now and Fall 2019 we will be doing $85M capital infrastructure on the main 3 projects. TRUST may have more in the works to add to that.

C. Bovis-Cnossen advised that the Capital Planning Projects Advisory Group (CPPAG) makes recommendations to the President about a 5 year capital plan. Information will also be used by Space Planning Committee to guide short and long term space planning decisions. She described the Terms of Reference. TRU needs to repopulate its capital list because AVED requires that institutions identify capital projects so they can determine funding. Criteria include: capital projects over $5M, capital projects that have potential to significantly impact to the overall TRU community, capital projects that require provincial government funding.

M. Milovick described the consultative process with flow chart. He noted that a green paper will need to be submitted for all new projects prior to completion of the project workbook. Strategic alignment and impacts on stakeholders will need to be identified at the outset. CPPAG will review proposals and use a scoring matrix to assess merits. Recommendations will then move to the President and on to Senate for consultation and feedback. Any proposal that goes to government will need Board of Governors approval. Once TRU submits to AVED, we also source out funding, grants, SIF’s from the federal government.

M. Milovick explained the Project Workbook to be used in proposal submission. The criteria used in the Workbook address a number of areas that government looks at when deciding where to fund.

M. Milovick added that new spaces going forward need to be reconfigurable as priorities and needs change over time. If there is a project that the university needs, TRU should find a way to build it. Money alone should not be the determining factor.

Questions and Answers:

Speaker (B. Mathenia, University Librarian):
How does the green paper process work? Where do you take the green paper?

M. Milovick responded:
The green paper should be submitted by a Dean or a division leader and shared with either the Provost or the VP-Administration & Finance initially. Presumably you have talked to faculty. Then pitch it to CPPAG. We meet monthly and can offer comments on it.

Speaker (D. Lawrence, Visual Arts):
What are the timelines by which you need proposals?

M. Milovick responded:
June 2018. Provincial government asks us to update our capital plan every year. We’d like to be ready by next June. No hard and fast date by which we have to submit, so if we have 3 projects ready to submit by December we would submit then. For this year, we would need it by May Board meeting.

Speaker (L. Tabata, Capital Projects):
If a proposal is denied by CPPAG, what is the process to re-visit it?

M. Milovick responded:
CPPAG will provide a summative evaluation of the proposal. The proposal can be refreshed and revisited.

A. Shaver responded:
It is a Board document and the Board will consult with Senate. Regular submissions from CPPAG to Senate will occur on an ongoing basis. We intend to keep projects in front of people through Senate presentations. Senate is livestreamed. Senate will have a go or no-go list for recommendations to the Board.

Speaker (M. Kwiatkowska, Science):
Build a new building/lab. How do we find out coordination of what is happening and what will go on?

M. Milovick responded:
Some faculties may not have need for brand new $50M building. Improved infrastructure projects should also be taken to your Dean. Other areas may have the same needs for academic and research space. TRU may be able to consolidate projects. There is no due date. Our next submittal to government is June 2018. If you have an idea for a green paper, write it with your Dean or Division leader, obtain feedback from CPPAG and then start working on it.

The Campus Master Plan identifies real estate for academic purposes (maps, square footage). Before submitting a Workbook, look at the Campus Master Plan. It is not prescriptive about what types of buildings can go where.

The HOL proposal has stopped. It is back in queue and will be reconsidered. CPPAG is open to comments.

Speaker (L. Dumouchel, Tourism Management):
I like the scoring system. How are they ranked against each other?

M. Milovick responded:
If we have a dozen submittals and all are great projects, we will add them to the list and we will prioritize them according to academic priorities, government funding etc.

Speaker (D. Lawrence, Visual Arts):
What about areas or individuals that have ideas for projects that might be less than $5M but still significant?

M. Milovick responded:
Have a conversation with Dean who can then take it to the VP.

Speaker (student):
How can students make suggestions?

C. Bovis-Cnossen responded:
There are 2 student reps on CPPAG. Contact them and put proposals forward. Alternatively, students can submit through TRUSU or Dean of Students.

M. Milovick responded:
The report form ECS is available on the VP Administration and Finance website. Send him a request if there is something specific you are looking for.

Speaker (M. Kwiatkowska, Science):
What about a letter of intent? Start with something smaller and have a meeting to see if they can collaborate.

C. Bovis-Cnossen responded:
We suggest a green paper - 3, 5 or 10 pages. That would be the initial kickstart to a conversation. In addition, have a conversation with your faculty council as well.

Every 2 or 3 months academic ideas can come to Provost’s Council for sharing and discussion. Academic AVP’s sit on that council.

Speaker (A. McLellan, TRUSU):
Give us a definition of what the role of vetting is at various stages.

M. Milovick responded:
If the proposal comes to a VP and it requires more work, that VP will ask for more to be done on it.

For anybody that is contemplating a large project (new building) look at ECS report to understand what spaces we have and where they are. It provides a lot of guidance for this campus. When going through the Workbook, CPPAG and VP’s will be looking for those ECS references in it. We use classrooms 51% of the available time. We have space. We do not want to overbuild. Decisions we make have to be thoughtful, careful.

C. Bovis-Cnossen responded:
When putting forward proposals do not think about status quo. The process requires some forecasting. Contact IPE for trend analysis. Reference departmental strategic plans. Look at degree programs that you will want to be offering in a number of years going forward. The Nursing building is not just about nursing, but research and nurse practitioners as well. What programs do we want to offer in 10 years? Masters programs, Doctoral programs. Think about what student learners will look like in 10 years.

Speaker (D. Acreman, Science):
Will this be circulated to TRU community?

M. Milovick responded:
This is livestreamed. Anyone can watch it again. The presentation will go on CPPAG website. He will send it to the Deans. He is willing to discuss at any faculty council if invited to attend.

Speaker (student):
How will it be circulated to students?

C. Bovis-Cnossen responded:
She will arrange for it to be sent to TRUSU executive. Notification of the meeting was put it out via TRU Announcements. She and M. Milovick will continue to work on how best to reach students.

The meeting ended at 1:55 pm.