TitleElectronic Directory/Information Wayfinding System Request Date2012-11-30
DepartmentFacilities Planning Design & Construction
RequestorWalter Banziger Phone994-6326
Campuses Bozeman Billings Havre Great Falls FSTS Extension MAES
Cross Depts All 950 acres of the MSU Bozeman campus
Proposed Dates Start: Within one year End: 36 months + (depending on phasing)
Critical to recruitment and retention efforts is a strong campus identity. Of impact to all campus constituents and visitors is a navigable and obvious campus layout. MSU currently does not have a comprehensive, integrated directory and/or information system that provides safe, inclusive and aesthetically appropriate wayfinding through campus. Implementation of a system, including an inventory and needs analysis, would accommodate ADA requirements, improve communication, and enhance the experience of the campus community. This comprehensive system includes information kiosks, graphical directional signage, and building and floor directories.
Goal: As stewards of our land grant institution, we will responsibly manage our human, physical, economic and environmental resources in an open and sustainable manner.
Objective S.1: Human Resources. Attract, develop and retain the best faculty and staff to achieve our MSU mission.

A well conceived and navigable campus contributes to recruitment and retention of quality faculty, staff, and students. Informative and functional wayfinding facilitates a sense of place and familiarity for visitors to campus. Integration of a comprehensive and connected wayfinding system with the strategic plan to improve overall appearance, functionality, and performance of facilities will enhance retention and recruitment.

Objective S.2: Physical Resources. Enhance aesthetic appeal and functional quality of our MSU physical resources to support high quality learning, research and work environments.
Metric S.2.3: By 2015, MSU will develop and implement a comprehensive master plan.

Modernization of the facility including, signage, ADA upgrades, aesthetic improvements, improvements to building systems, transformation of instructional facilities, and space efficiency changes will ensure compatibility with and advancement of the campus strategic plan.

Learning Goal: We prepare students to graduate equipped for careers or further education.
Access Goal: Montana State University is committed to widening access to higher education and seeks to ensure equality of opportunity for all.

A comprehensive wayfinding system contributes to facilitating accessibility within the campus. It supports safe and efficient movement through campus, provides information, direction, and facilitates arrival, familiarity, and sense of belonging to the campus community. It enables accessibility for a diverse and broad contingent.
Funding Type: One-Time Only Funding Base (3-yr Recurring) Funding
  FY13 FY14 FY15 Base ($) OTO Startup ($)   FTE;
Materials & Supplies 2500  2500  5000         
Contracted Services 30000  10000  10000         
Capital 120000  270000  270000         
Other Operations 10000  10000  10000         
TOTAL 162500  292500  295000     
Please comment, if necessary, regarding cost and requirements.

Project cost based on the following assumptions. 


  • The estimated probable cost to provide and install electronic information systems and directory signage in appropriate locations distributed throughout campus is anticipated to be approximately $750,000 as listed in MSU’s 2013 Long Range Building Program (LRBP).  However, in light of the extensive listing of high priority projects and competitive nature for funding through the state LRBP system, it is unlikely that the state would fund a project of this nature in the near future. 


  • The electronic directory and information system could be funded over a multi-year cycle to facilitate a phased installation throughout the campus, beginning with high priority areas of the campus core. 


  • Installation of the system, both electronic and static/fixed, is estimated to be approximately $660,000 which could be broken down into 3 phases of $220,000 each.  The project could also be broken down into additional phases to facilitate internal funding opportunities.


  • The consultant design fee associated with design is estimated to be approximately $50,000. 


  • Materials and supplies consist of printing, renderings, and photographic services etc.  Estimated probable cost is $10,000.


Other operations consist of project contingency of $20,000 and $10,000 in project administration costs for a total of $30,000

Describe the Proposal

An Electronic Directory/Information Wayfinding System is essential in a modern campus environment impacting all users of the University. The ability to navigate a large campus affects ones emotional state, attitude towards the University.  These system is more than a navigational aid, it also is a way to market an area’s resources, alter negative perceptions, evoke a sense of history and character, and improve the streetscape.

The proposal seeks to secure funding to design and modernize the existing campus Electronic Directory/Information Wayfinding system to better facilitate navigation in and around the campus as well as promote the visitors connection to the University.  The scope of work consists of planning and design of the system; and the installation directories and information kiosk that include both static and electronic elements appropriate to the campus and associated building’s architecture.  Expansion and installation of the system components could be pursued over several years in order to implement a comprehensive and interconnected wayfinding system throughout the campus.  

Critical to recruitment and retention efforts is a strong campus identity. An informational and directional system that include explicit information as well as implicit symbols and design elements can successfully convey information quickly to a broad spectrum of individuals including those visiting the campus, state and country for the first time. Currently MSU has a very basic campus wayfinding system consisting primarily of main entry signs, building name signs located outside each facility: various and minimal installations within many buildings, a room numbering system and an assortment of dissimilar building directories and building informational signage.  New or recently renovated buildings have more ample systems.  A comprehensive, integrated signage system will provide the MSU community with safe, inclusive and aesthetically appropriate wayfinding. Facilities Planning, Design & Construction (FPDC) proposes to perform an inventory and needs analysis and then develop a wayfinding master plan to implement a system, which would accommodate ADA requirements, improve communication, and enhance the experience of the campus community. A comprehensive (both static and electronic), system is envisioned includes information kiosks, graphical directional signage, building and floor directories and communication systems which interact with today’s personal technology devices.

Electronic wayfinding system might include touch-screen kiosks, programmable LED signs and cell phone map applications. Many of these tools allow for greater interaction between security forces, campus residents and visitors.  Modern mapping capability will allow users to search for specific buildings on campus and make use of their Smartphone’s QR’s and GPS capabilities to coordinate directions from place to place.  The current student demographic is conversant with these technologies and will be able to find faculty, staff, departmental offices, as well as labs and classrooms more efficiently and effectively.


Describe the broader impacts and benefits of this proposal

A comprehensive Electronic Directory/Information Wayfinding System is essential for the success of the University’s mission to integrate learning, discovery and engagement as well as facilitate accessibility.  Wayfinding is an important aspect of experiencing an environment.  Wayfinding system should orderly structure information that enables people to comfortably reach a destination within an acceptable amount of time and energy. This is measurable in terms of efficiency in student and business productivity. Wayfinding also establishes an experiential relationship with architectural, urban or natural landscapes.

Additionally, Wayfinding involves accessibility and public safety. An efficiently designed Wayfinding system will focus the attention of walkers, cyclists, and drivers reducing accidents and liability costs.

Electronic signage combined with smartphone applications can quickly and conveniently connect individuals with  campus maps, building floor plans, historical information about a site, the background on public artwork throughout campus, and construction detours. A system such of this not only provides opportunity to educate the University community and visitors with respect to the heritage, history, and mission of campus; but also promotes greater connectivity and familiarity with the campus’ social and cultural diverse community.

Implementation Plan

Upon approval of the funding of the proposal

  • Obtain Board of Regents Authority for spending of funds on the project. (2 to 4 months)
  • Coordinate consultant selection process through state A&E Division in Helena (2-3 months)
  • Contract negotiations and project start-up (1 month)
  • Programming study and facility evaluations (2 months)
  • Schematic Design (2 months)
  • UFPB Review and approval of Schematic Design (1 months)
  • Design Development (4 months)
  • Construction Documents (6 months)
  • Bidding and Award (1 month)
  • Construction and installation (Phased over 3 construction seasons)
  • Project Completion.


Total estimated project time frame 24 to 36 months.

Assessment Plan
  • Review and identify proposed locations
  • Develop schematic design
  • UFBP review and Presidential approval of schematic design and locations.
  • Implement project
  • Assess project expansion and growth
  • Secure additional funding for continued development and adaptation of systems.
If assessed objectives are not met in the timeframe outlined what is the plan to sunset this proposal?

If the assessed objectives of the plan are not met within the timeframe the following options are available:

  • Postpone project implementation to a later timeframe.  The initiation of the project is subject to BOR meeting schedule to obtain spending authority and A&E Division appointment schedules to select consultant per MCA requirements. 

Sunset of the proposal would include closing out consultant contracts if applicable.

Dean/Director: Robert Lashaway (
Executive/VP: Terry Leist (