Planning for Higher Education Journal

Campus Facility Site Selection and Matrix Evaluation of Weighted Alternatives: A Methodology

Journal Cover
From Volume 17 Number 4 | 1988–1989
By Mark Beck
Planning Types: Campus Planning

Too often, site slection decisions for college and university facilities are limited to previously designated sites, using standard architectural, engineering, and landscape design. While the least cost method project completion is correct, frequently the site selection decision is not easily justified to adminstrators, client departments, and community leaders. Campus planners must make selection recommendations based on qualitive factors that are not easily comparable to alternatives (criteria such as visual effect, parking access, and site development costs are part of the decision making process). Thus, a matrix evaluation model is a means of alternative site selection. It is a system of weights and scores that are "easily managed and publicly defendable." The site selection process has two parts. It deals with alternative site selection and developing selection criteria for comparable evaluation. The second part includes organization of a weight scale and quantitative site evaluation. The process consists of eight steps. These include (1) Clarify programmed site requirements and criteria; (2) Select preliminary sites; (3) Establish selection criteria; (4) Develop a site list; (5) Make a preliminary recommendation; (6) Secure a final decision; (7) Perform a weighted evaluation; and (8) Make a final recommendation. Facility site selection decisions made using a matrix model with its system of weights and scores is easier to justify to administrators, client departments, and community organizations. Once they are involved in the decision making process the reason for the site selection is more readily understood, thus increasing the likelihood of site decision approval.

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