This April, KAPPA* hosted their annual spring meeting at the beautifully renovated Omni Bedford Springs Resort.

The conference attendees  were welcomed with a superb meal served in the original 19th century ballroom. During the meal, a local expert provided a great historical overview of the hotel. He was joined by the renovation contactors who gave an insider’s view of the renovation process. We learned that the ballroom columns are hollow and the floor is actually supported by suspension from the ceiling above. This allows for open spaces below the room, which accommodates the   Chrystal Dining room and the grand entry to the lobby. The renovation  contractors further discussed the extensive research and cataloguing that was  undertaken to ensure the renovation was historically accurate. The count of  fixtures, lights, and other detailed architectural elements was daunting and  surely resonated with the room full of physical plant professionals. The presentation perfectly set the stage for two presentations the following day.

The early set of sessions featured a presentation by a team from Penn State ”“ Harrisburg about the process of utilizing Building Information Modeling (BIM) for their newest project. The consultants and leadership from Penn State described the value embedded in the BIM process through the multiple layers of information available for any aspect of the building, which includes fixtures, hardware, lighting, and many other maintenance items. The team further described how this up-front data input during design, bidding, and construction, will enhance their ability to maintain the building in the future.

In the same room, later that day, Derck & Edson presented on the topic of Geographic Information System (GIS) and campus  planning, which in many ways is an exterior reflection of the BIM concept. The focus of GIS mapping on a campus is to put significant amounts of data into the GIS which will enable effective and efficient maintenance and development on campus. One key difference with implementing a GIS on campus is its ability to occur immediately. In other words, you do not have to wait for a new building or project to be complete to begin the data entry. In fact, much of the data  you’ll want in your GIS is already rolled up, folded, or lying in a drawer  somewhere in an office. Using GIS software allows the consolidation of those paper files into a singular location with the ability to report out a variety of information, directly and positively impacting daily operations on a campus.

*From their website, APPA ”“ Leadership in Educational Facilities “is now the largest  international association of educational institutions and their facilities and  physical plant departments.” The organization has regional sections across the United States with our Pennsylvania chapter being known as KAPPA.