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Square Footage Guidelines

Assigned Workspace

Assigned workspace includes offices and workstations that are assigned to individuals for long-term use. Sizing is based according to the position of the occupant as outlined in the table below.

Role SF per Occupant
President 350
Provost 300
Assistant/Associate Provost  250
Vice Provost  250
Vice President 250
Dean 180
Assistant/Associate Vice President  180
Assistant/Associate Vice Provost  180
Assistant/Associate Dean 180
Executive Director  180
Director 150
Department Chair  150
Senior Associate Director  150
Assistant/Associate Director 150
Professor  120
Assistant/Associate Professor 120
Collegiate Faculty  120
AP Faculty  120
Athletics Coach 120
Senior Staff 120
Research Associate  64
Professor Emeritus  64
Adjunct Faculty 64
Professional Staff 64
Support Staff 48
Postdoctoral Fellow  48
Graduate Teaching/Research Assistant  48

Workspaces can be designated as private, semi-private, or open. These designations are referenced when calculating circulation space.

Shared Workspace

Shared workspace includes offices and workstations that are not assigned to individuals for long-term use. Such space is often utilized by part-time employees, student workers, interns, visiting faculty, and others who don’t need an assigned workspace. Shared workspace can be managed in a variety of ways ranging from being scheduled to individuals for short-term use (hoteling) to being unmanaged and open to the public. Sizing is based on the desired layout for the space as outlined in the table below.

Layout SF per Workspace
Open 30
Semi-private 48
Private 100

Support Workspace

Support workspace accounts for shared areas such as kitchen/break rooms, file/general storage, reception and waiting areas, copy/mail areas, coat storage, and the like. To account for this space, 30 SF may be portioned for each assigned workspace and 7.5 SF for each unassigned workspace.

Conference Space

The purpose of conference space is to provide a comfortable area for group discussion and collaboration. Sizing is based on the desired seating capacity for the room as outlined in the table below.

Seating Capacity SF per Room
4-6 150
6-8 200
8-10 250
10-15 375
15-20 500

Lab Space

Lab space is sized according to the intended number of occupants, whether the lab will be used for research or instruction, and the level of intensity for anticipated lab activities. Levels of Intensity can be broken into the following three categories:

  • Highly intensive: Wet labs and labs with large equipment. Highly intensive labs include Textiles, Dramatic Arts, most labs in the College of Engineering, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, College of Natural Resources, Physics, Chemistry and College of Veterinary Medicine.
  • Moderately intensive: Labs with moderate space requirements, including, Education, Psychology and Communications, Computer Science, Electrical, and GIS, and Music labs.
  • Non-intensive: Labs requiring computers but little in the way of other supporting equipment. Non-intensive labs include Social Sciences, Mathematics and Statistics, Business, and Public Affairs.
  Highly Intensive Moderately Intensive Non-Intensive
Research Labs 260 SF/occupant 90 SF/occupant 25 SF/occupant
Instructional Labs 85 SF/occupant 60 SF/occupant 40 SF/occupant

Multipurpose and Classrooms

Classroom space is sized according to both the desired quantity of seats as well as the seating arrangement that will be implemented. As seen in the table below, some seating configurations are not considered practical for large or small classrooms and therefore are not listed within certain seating capacity brackets. Multipurpose rooms share the same square footage allotments as classrooms, though they should always be configured with movable tables and chairs.

Seating Capacity Movable Chairs with Tablet Arms Fixed Chairs with Tablet Arms Movable Tables and Chairs Fixed Table and Chairs Auditorium Seating
0-25 20 SF 17 SF 21 SF 21 SF  -
26-49 17 SF 17 SF 21 SF 19 SF  -
50-99 15 SF 13 SF 19 SF 19 SF 15 SF
100-149  -  13 SF 19 SF 19 SF 13 SF
150-299  -  - 19 SF 18 SF 12 SF
300+  -  - 19 SF 17 SF 12 SF

Circulation Space

Circulation space accounts for the portion of non-assignable area which is required for physical access to other spaces. It includes areas such as corridors, lobbies, elevators, stairs, etc.

To calculate circulation space, a Circulation Multiplier is applied to the net area. In general, more circulation space is needed for open workstation layouts than for private workstation layouts. For this reason, the VT Square Footage Calculator uses two Circulation Multipliers: one that is applied to workspaces, and another that is applied to all other space.


The Circulation Multiplier for workspace is applied to assigned, shared, and support workspace subtotals. The multiplier itself is calculated based on the ratio of open workstations to private workstations according to the following formula:

Circulation Multiplier = (0.2) (open workstation count / total workstation count) + 0.4

This means that an additional 40% of workspace will be allocated for circulation if all workspaces are private or semi-private, and an additional 60% will be allocated if all workspaces are open.

Other Space

The Circulation Multiplier for all other space is set at a constant 0.4.


Metrics found on this page were influenced by the following publications:

Sasaki. (2017). Virginia Tech Master Plan: Space Utilization Study.

U.S. General Services Administration. (2012). Circulation: Defining and Planning.

Virginia Department of General Services. (2018). Construction and Professional Services Manual.