Administrative Policies

AD38 Administration of University Physical Facilities

Policy Status: 


Subject Matter Expert: 

William Sitzabee, 814-865-4402,

Policy Steward: 

Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff


  • Purpose
  • Authority
  • Definitions
  • Policy
  • .... Planning and Land Use
  • .... Design and Construction
  • .... Routine and Major Maintenance and Building Operations
  • .... Construction Contract Administration
  • .... Environmental Regulatory Compliance
  • .... Building Code Compliance and Permitting
  • .... Environmental Health and Safety Compliance and Permitting
  • .... Temporary Structures
  • .... Real Estate
  • .... Space Assignments
  • Exceptions
  • Further Information
  • Cross References

    The purpose of this policy is to establish the responsibility for the administration of the University physical facilities, including buildings, infrastructure, and grounds at all University locations.


    The Board of Trustees of The Pennsylvania State University, through the President and the Treasurer, has delegated authority to the Office of Physical Plant (OPP) for the planning, design, construction, maintenance, and operations of all University-owned facilities at all University locations (including research centers and campuses), except as specified in the "Exceptions" section of this policy, and as defined in Memoranda of Understanding, lease agreements, or other approved agreements.  OPP has authority to enter into Memoranda of Understanding with other University units related to the administration of all facilities that are unique to units.

    Questions concerning any specific authority or delegation should be referred to the Associate Vice President for Physical Plant.


    Routine Facilities Operations and Maintenance -
    Facilities operations and maintenance encompasses all that broad spectrum of services required to assure the built environment will perform the functions for which a facility was designed and constructed. Operations and maintenance typically includes the day-to-day activities necessary for the building and its systems and equipment to perform their intended function. Operations and maintenance are combined into the common term O&M because a facility cannot operate at peak efficiency without being maintained; therefore the two are discussed as one.
    Major Maintenance -
    Major Maintenance is repairs, replacement, or refurbishment done to assets such as building systems or other facilities which have a cost above the level of funding available in annual operating budgets.  Normally such repair costs are at least $5,000 for single projects. Major maintenance frequency is based on the life cycle of the asset and is normally in longer intervals like five to fifty years depending on the useful life of the asset.
    Capital Projects -
    See Board of Trustees Bylaws.



    Facility administration responsibilities of OPP include:

    Planning and Land Use

    • Lead the programming, development, and implementation of campus master plans (land use, building opportunities, future utility systems and infrastructure, parking, etc.), sub-district plans, and college/unit master plans for all campuses, colleges, and units.
    • Perform site selection studies and feasibility studies for new buildings, building additions, recreation facilities, parking, public spaces, etc.
    • Manage, maintain, and implement the Capital Plan within financial parameters as approved by the Senior Vice President for Finance and Business.
    • Guide conformance with municipal zoning and land development processes.
    • Lead the design and installation of all directional signs, building identification signs, and temporary banners.
    • Develop intermodal transportation plans that accommodate vehicles, transit, bicycles, and pedestrians.
    • Lead the process to select sites for and approve the installation of temporary and permanent public art and sculpture at the UP campus. (See Policy AD31 Outdoor Public Art).

    Design and Construction

    • Buildings and Structures
      • Lead the design and construction of all new buildings and structures, as well as building renovations, renewals, and expansions and request Board of Trustees approval when required (see BOT Bylaws).  
      • Lead the selection process for architects and engineers and request Board of Trustees approval when required (see BOT Bylaws).
      • Develop and maintain standards and policies regarding the design and construction of all University facilities.
      • Facilitate design approvals with senior administration and the Board of Trustees.
      • Approve exterior modifications to all existing university buildings and grounds that do not require approval from the Board of Trustees.
    • Landscape and Grounds
      • Lead the design and construction of all landscapes, plazas, recreation fields, etc.
    • Utilities and Infrastructure
      • Lead the design and construction of university utility systems and other infrastructure, such as roads, sidewalks, lighting, etc. for all University owned facilities.
      • Negotiate with utility companies for rates and services.

    Routine Facilities Operations and Maintenance and Major Maintenance

    • Manage the Routine Facilities Operations and Maintenance and Major Maintenance of buildings, infrastructure (except telecommunications), campus landscapes, and grounds.
    • Operate and maintain University utility systems and infrastructure.
    • Administer the Refuse Collection and Re-cycling programs at University Park. (see Policy AD34 University Recycling Program)
    • Maintain outdoor public art at University Park. (see Policy AD31 Public Art)

    Construction Contract Administration

    • Award all contracts at the University for design and construction professionals (See Policy FN11, Contracts and Leases) after receiving Board of Trustees approval, when required (see BOT Bylaws).

    Environmental Regulatory Compliance

    • Act as the University’s responsible agent for environmental regulatory compliance.

    Building Code Compliance and Permitting

    • Act as the University’s responsible agent for building code compliance.

    Environmental Health and Safety Compliance and Permitting

    • Act as the University’s responsible agent for environmental health and safety compliance and permitting (e.g. OSHA, see Policy SY01, Environmental Health and Safety)

    Temporary Structures

    • Approve the location and design of all temporary structures (see Policy AD57, General Regulations on Use of University Property).

    Real Estate

    • Manage real estate transactions, including the acquisition and sale of land and buildings after receiving Board of Trustees approval when required (see BOT Bylaws).
    • Lease facilities in the State College/Centre County Region area for use by University programs.  (see Policy FN11, Contracts and Leases)
    • Review leases for facilities at other locations prior to authorizing action.  OPP must be notified before any renovations or remodeling projects are started at any leased facility.
    • Manage negotiations for permanent and temporary easements and rights-of-way pertaining to utilities and roadways to or over all University property.

    Space Assignments

    • Serve as principal staff support to Facilities Resources Committee (FRC)
      • At University Park, the FRC is responsible for Education and General space assignments, and approval of changes in use.
      • At locations other than University Park, the Campus Chancellors are responsible for space assignments.
      • Oversee the management of storage space at University Park 


    The following is a summary of the exceptions to this Policy:

    • Routine Facilities Operations and Maintenance of all buildings owned by the University and performed by PSU employees of:
      • Housing and Foods
      • University Park Airport
      • Bryce Jordan Center
      • Nittany Lion Inn and The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel
      • Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreation Fields
      • Commonwealth Campuses
      • Applied Research Laboratory
      • Agricultural Research Stations
      • HUB-Robeson Center
    • Routine Maintenance of buildings not owned by the University, which are operated by Applied Research Laboratory.
    • Major Maintenance program administration is the responsibility of the auxiliaries and Applied Research Laboratory.  However, the work is executed through OPP.
    • The Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and the Penn State College of Medicine have the responsibility for the administration of the University’s physical facilities at Hershey as described above.
    • Space assignments in buildings operated by auxiliary services (such as Housing and Food Services, ICA, etc.) at University Park and locations other than University Park.
    • The Pennsylvania College of Technology has the responsibility for the administration of the University’s physical facilities at Penn College as described above.
    • The Electro-Optics Center, an independent research center near Kittaning, PA has the responsibility for the administration of the University’s physical facilities at that location.


    For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Office of Physical Plant.


    Other Policies in this manual should also be referenced, especially the following:

    AD01 - Policies and Procedures for Use of University Auditoriums

    AD02 - Non-University Groups Using University Facilities

    AD05– Naming University Facilities

    AD21– Use of the Agricultural Arena and Agricultural Progress Days Facilities

    AD26 - Sale and Serving of Food and Beverages at University Locations

    AD30– Cable Television (CATV) at University Facilities

    AD31 - Public Art (formerly Outdoor Public Art)

    AD34 - University Recycling Program,

    AD51– Use of Outdoor Areas for Expressive Activities,

    AD57 - General Regulations on Use of University Property,

    AD62– Use of General Purpose Classrooms (formerly Scheduling and Use of General Purpose Classrooms)

    AD64– Energy Conservation Policy,

    AD65– Electronic Security and Access Systems,

    AD70 - Emergency Management,

    AD73 - Accessing Athletic and Recreational Facilities,

    AD76 - Emergency Notifications on Digital Signage,

    BS07 - Authority and Procurement,

    FN11 - Contracts and Leases, and

    SY01 - Environmental Health and Safety

    Most Recent Changes:

    • May 2, 2017 - Editorial change to the EXCEPTIONS section. Clarified exceptions to this policy as they pertain to the Penn State Health Hershey Medical Center and the Penn State College of Medicine.

    Revision History (and effective dates):

    • December 11, 2013 - Revisions throughout the entire policy to clarify responsibilities and authorities.
    • June 15, 2006 - Revision History added.
    • August 28, 1995 - Incorporated the Bryce Jordan Center.
    • June 2, 1992 - New Policy.

    Date Approved: 

    December 9, 2013

    Date Published: 

    December 11, 2013

    Effective Date: 

    December 11, 2013