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Campus Optimization Planning

Helping an urban campus get ahead amidst local and global pressures


In 2019 GGU’s prime downtown address was critical for access to its student base, made up mostly of mid-career professionals. But persistent offers from developers to maximize the real estate potential of its downtown site had begun to paralyze aspects of university decision making. To get on the front foot, GGU needed to determine its fundamental needs within a rapidly changing academic, programmatic, cultural, and financial landscape – irrespective of what real estate offer was on the table.


MKThink conducted over 30 faculty and staff engagements to assess and refresh student, instructional, and operational needs. University-wide surveys, course-and-classroom utilization analysis, and scheduling models validated user requirements and the efficacy of the resulting space options.

In collaboration with university leadership, MKThink developed guiding principles that were used to assess the pros and cons of multiple program scenarios. Each scenario explored the impact of different variables. Post pandemic, MKThink supplemented these with a series of new scenarios to understand the impact of increasingly remote and hybrid instruction modes, work practices, and distribution typologies.


MKThink’s scenario models helped the university determine the ‘minimum viable solution ’ it needed to implement to support its academic mission and brand while maximizing its real estate opportunities. By thinking outside the confines of its existing campus, the university was able to visualize success using as little as ~40% of its existing campus footprint, unlocking savings (and potential new revenue) that can be realized via alternative development scenarios, including staying in place.


Golden Gate University


Data Services
Utilization and Capacity Analysis
Scenario Modeling
Change Management


San Francisco, CA


50,000 SF


Higher Education


Vision and Master Plan 2012
Master Plan Implementation |
Architectural Services 2012 - 2015
Campus Optimization Planning 2019 - 2022

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