The University of Akron is planning to use a $250,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to help it sell, lease out or find new uses for as much as an eighth of the space it owns.
Akron will use the money from the grant to hire a consultant in an attempt to bring its real estate portfolio into line with future enrollment expectations, The Plain Dealer reported last week. The university is looking to offload or repurpose as much as one million of about eight million square feet it owns. Much of the space in question is on the outskirts of the university’s campus.
The move comes after long-unfolding enrollment declines and budget pressures at Akron that have led administrators to pursue cost-cutting measures ranging from program cuts to faculty buyouts to faculty layoffs in recent years. The university counts about 18,000 students today, down from roughly 26,000 in 2008.