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An Introduction to LEED
Critical Considerations for Designing Today’s Interior Spaces (Dovetail DCI)
Working With Your Architect (Chicago Community Loan)
NCN Webinar I Better Build Outs: Managing Tenant Improvement
Serve Denton’s Floor Plan


Topics Below:

Shared Space Design Advice
Percentage of Space Used for Conference Rooms and Collaboration Spaces
Innovative Use for Open Space (Communal Dining)


See also:

Costs for Redesign Drawings
Inclusive Shared Spaces
Vacant Buildings Repurposed
Virtual Tours of Shared Space


Shared Space Design Advice

From Ask-NCN Conversation 5/24/2017


Lara Jakubowski, The Nonprofit Centers Network
We were asked to pass on the following question from an NCN member:
We are in the planning stages for a 35,000 shared space for 12 human services agencies in a 110,000 square foot building. We are looking for design tips since our architects don’t have extensive experience working on projects like this. What are the best design features you incorporated in your shared space project? What mistakes did you make in your design?


Mary Jo Shircliffe, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky
Storage space!


Shelby Bradbury, Sierra Health Foundation
Being thoughtful of parking for tenants and guests.


Misha Palin, The Lab
1) storage space is definitely on my list too. (if you’re doing an event space think about where you’ll put chairs, etc. Also, we didn’t put storage in the offices, so all our offices have to bring cabinets if they want to store anything.
2) security, where are there going to be security holes in your design?
3) trash…we put in 3 trash draws in our kitchens and they work well.
4) dishwasher so the kitchen doesn’t get piles of dishes.
5) IT thoughtfulness: Laying in the highest capacity internet cables…spending the extra money as the technology becomes outdated so quickly. How will your entire building get good wifi coverage…make sure the wiring gets thought through early
6) sound bleed. Don’t skimp on insulation and how your tenants will be affected by sound. Sound travels through ceilings as well.
7) our office walls have 1 glass wall each…it creates a fishbowl effect. I think it helps with keeping people from hiding out…but it’s also not the most comfortable…not sure how to resolve that. I think partial window decals or curtains could be a good compromise.
8) figure out how much you need to make in order to cover your expenses. NCN has suggestions about how much common space you should have vs rentable space. Just remember, common space won’t be making you money but will be an amenity and may be rented for events. Don’t get yourself into a bad place where you make awesome common space that looks great but are losing money on your office overall.


Pam Mauk, Together Center
We have supports at what we call our Front Door (at our three building strip mall), which include touchscreen map, telephones, offices for our information and referral, an advocate office and a cultural navigator office. We created these out of other spaces over time, but you might think of the type of help you will want at the entry while you are planning.


Kim Sarnecki, Tides
Make your space as flexible as possible. Walls that retract, furnishings on wheels. You will appreciate the ability to be able to adjust spaces as needed.


Charlene Altenhain, Glasser Schoenbaum Human Services Center
Our center was built in 1990 and we are constantly wishing storage was included in the design. Storage for us and our tenants. Be cognizant of parking if you offer conference rooms. We have enough parking spaces for our tenants and their day-to-day clients. However, tenants will frequently hold meetings in our conference rooms, sometimes with up to 50 people and then parking definitely becomes an issue. Stations and dumpster for recycling is also important.


Mike Gilbert, The Jones Trust
Before you begin to work with the design team, you might want to host a partners meeting and discuss workflows as community where you can identify the natural collaborative work that will evolve and try to position the layout where all organizations have opportunity to maximize these collaborative efforts. Consider a large open front lobby with lots of natural light where people can gather for small evening receptions, etc. It is good for meeting rooms to open to the lobby if possible. Think about lots of glass and think about a centralized workroom and breakroom that helps stimulate conversation among building partners. Storage is necessary, but is it as valuable as program space? Are there other opportunities for storage solutions? Try to keep everything as flexible and modular where possible.

Considering your long term operating expenses and make lighting, heating & cooling choices based on life cycle costs so that you capitalize your energy conservation choices and enjoy the benefits with efficient operating expenses over time. LED lighting and daylight harvesting are good investments as well as occupancy sensors. Think of how you will manage the heat and air controls in the space. (It is easy to have the building fight itself if there are too many controllable thermostats).

Think of how you can activate the building and grounds for a pop up event for community building.


Michele Vandentillaart, The Link
I have to ditto Charlene’s comments, parking, storage, staff space and their storage needs, event supply storage are all very important as well as janitorial/maintenance space with slop sinks.


Valerie Hill, Center for Social Change
Our members have two favorite space features- our kitchen and our meditation room.
Our meditation room is a small space open to members all day but we also have guided meditations once a week as well as offer free 15min wellness sessions (massage, reiki, acupuncture, etc) once a month on a first come first serve basis.Our kitchen has a microwave, stove/oven, toaster oven, blender, juicer, etc and our members love to use it. If you do this, make sure you have windows or some sort of ventilation. A dishwasher is absolutely a smart move, we wish we had made! We have recently started composting and if there is an easy way for you to integrate that into your kitchen, I highly recommend it. It is also nice if possible to place your kitchen near natural light if you want to have a small herb garden.

Another popular feature is our home-made phone booth, it was a closet that we turned into a private area with sound proofing and a glass door.

I highly recommend looking into the best lighting because we have florescent lights throughout our building that nobody likes- there are studies about it triggering migraines and other issues. We end up turning off most of the lights and relying on lamps and window light for a more homey feel. My co-worker recommends LED lights and specifically color-changing LED lights in spaces where you may have frequent events. No need to hire a lighting company for an event, when it’s already built in!


Percentage of Space Used for Conference Rooms and Collaboration Spaces

Ask-NCN 4/25/2017


Debbie Shoemaker, Community Foundation for Southern Arizona
I am looking to see what existing nonprofit centers planned for conference room space? We are a nonprofit community foundation. We have bought a building and are now in the design process. Our community spaces will be in an area of around 8,000 square feet. We will have a large conference room, a co-lab space, a kitchen and some lounge areas. Does anyone have any experience on what percentage of that 8,000 sq ft should be conference room?


Mark Krider, Carroll Nonprofit Center
We have a 40,000 sq. ft. building with 24 nonprofits, we have just over 3000 sq. ft. of conference room space that can be divided equally into 3 rooms via portable walls, and it still not enough. I think the question is how large is your large conference room you already have, and what will it accommodate, a lot of board meeting we host can be anywhere from 12-20 people, we also have it where we can change the room to classroom style to host trainings up to 24 people. Or open all three rooms to host a conference, or a very large training, as many as 80 people. So its really what you are comfortable space wise on given up and what you are planning on hosting. I will say outside nonprofits do use our conference rooms so they are continuously being used. Remember a lot of meetings like to have some sort of food or drinks so have space allocated for that. I like to use the 40 sq. ft. per person for conference room space.


Angela Baldridge, The Plantory

We have about 15000 square feet, and we have 11 conference rooms. This is enough, but we sometimes convert one of our flexible spaces for events too. We stay pretty busy, with over 1000 people using them every month (and we’re in a pretty small market). We surveyed our members and the nonprofit community before building to get a sense of how much space to allocate and what it should be like; we have a large conference room that seats 80ish, a board room, two more board-size rooms, a yoga studio, and then 5 smaller (2-4 person) rooms. Then we also have an open coworking area that can be rented out along with our gallery. We have reservations every day at least, and our members get 10 hours of conference time included per desk so they also use the rooms regularly.

Innovative Use for Open Space (Communal Dining)

Ask-NCN 12.12.17


Kelsey Collier-Wise, United Way of Vermillion
We’re in the process of designing our center and would love some feedback/examples. One of the things that will be housed in our space is a once-a-week community meal that will require a large communal dining space. The rest of the week, we’d like to look at ways to partition or rearrange the space for other uses. If you have a large open space that you use in interesting or innovative ways or know of similar examples, please share!


Carlie Kuban, Serve Denton
Here is the floor plan for our shared space, the Serve Denton Center. We are located in Denton, TX. We have different options for shared space – large conference room, classroom, cafe area, and individual counseling rooms that can be booked. We add a monthly charge for agencies in the building to use the shared spaces, and then offer it as a one time fee for any other organizations that want to book these spaces. We’ve discussed using the conference room space for additional desks for our “hot desk” users throughout the week, depending on the need. We plan to use the conference room for educational seminars, social service group lunches, fundraisers, collaboration workshops, and more.


Diane Kaplan Vinokur, University of Michigan (Retired)
You may want to check out the Posner Center for International Development in Denver. They have a lunch space that is also used for community assemblies, presentations, etc.

Last updated byNonprofit Centers Network