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Postsecondary Education

NCES 2006-160
May 2006

4.2.1 Primary Use

Space use codes are assigned based on primary use. Most rooms and spaces in an institution fall readily into one space use code. In some cases, however, individual rooms or groups of rooms have multiple uses (e.g., office and art studio). If a space inventory system uses only a single code to indicate the use, the coding should be based on the primary use of the space. Thus, a space that is a laboratory by appearance or design but is currently being used primarily as a classroom is coded as a classroom rather than as a laboratory. As another example, a space that is used as both an Office (310) and a Research/Nonclass Laboratory (250) equipped and used principally for research, but which also includes some space used occasionally as an office, should be coded as a laboratory facility.

It is recommended that primary use be evaluated in terms of time, the human activity element that focuses on use rather than space. In the event that time of use is not readily available, the amount of space allocated to each activity or function should be the determining factor. Where multiple room use codes are accommodated in a system, prorations may be used. Where multiple space use codes can be accommodated in the database, a system to prorate space may be used (see below). Primary use or proration also applies to the assignment of spaces to organizational units, functional categories, or Academic Discipline, as discussed below.