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Campus Optimization Planning

Helping an urban campus get ahead amidst local and global pressures


In 2019, Golden Gate University's (GGU) prime downtown location was a critical access for its student base consisting of primarily mid-career professionals. However, persistent offers from developers seeking to maximize the real estate potential of this site was paralyzing aspects of university decision-making. 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 to assess the pros and cons of multiple program scenarios. Each scenario explored the impact of different variables. Post-pandemic, MKThink supplemented these with new scenarios to understand the impact of the increasing remote and hybrid instruction modes, work practices, and distribution typologies.


MKThink’s scenario models helped the university determine the ‘minimum viable solution’ needed to support its academic mission and brand while maximizing real estate opportunities. By thinking outside the confines of the existing campus, the university visualized success using as little as ~40% of the existing campus footprint. This unlocked 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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