Updating Campus Facilities During Your Holiday Break

Universities close around the winter holidays, giving both students and faculty a break to spend time with their families. This is also a convenient time for campus recreation departments to complete projects that will enhance their facilities, both functionally and through appearance.

Small Projects

Most commonly, the holiday break is used to make small changes to upgrade facilities. It's the perfect opportunity to freshen up building elements that could fall apart over time. Rethinking subtle features, such as furniture and storage, can also benefit both students and operations by increasing flexibility.

Top small projects typically completed are:

  • Refinishing, stripping, and waxing floors
  • Deep cleaning weight rooms (floors, equipment)
  • Dusting high ductwork
  • Painting

Using quick breaks in a university's schedule to alter facilities is a good way to increase operational efficiency, allowing minimal service disruptions to students.

Large Projects

Although it's mostly small projects that are completed during holiday breaks, it's not uncommon to have large projects finished during this time. These projects might include adding a climbing boulder or retiling a pool deck to a university's recreational facility.


We recently designed the 4,000-square-foot retail facility, Victory at Gregory Gym, at The University of Texas (UT) at Austin's recreation center. Constructed during a short four-week period, the former café now provides retail space, as well as lounge seating and study areas for students. The retail space is a joint effort with NIKE Inc., who is partnering with UT on other initiatives such as internships, scholarships, and event sponsorships. NIKE had all fixtures and furniture made off site which helped speed up the construction process.

Sustainable Efforts

It's also a good idea to use the holiday time to rethink sustainable policies. Develop a sustainable purchasing policy, and green cleaning policies for inventory, to ensure the facility maintains a sustainable footprint.

Empty campuses make holiday breaks prime opportunities for schools to update. Maximize return-on-investment by using your empty campus to renew facilities.

  • Tracy Herrmann
    Tracy Herrmann
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