We also maintain the university vehicle fleet.
*** Contact with architects, planners, engineers, designers, and interior decorators is to be made ONLY through Physical Facilities. ***
A work order is required to begin any design and construction or project requests for the university. Campus repairs and maintenance requests are initiated through a service request.
• Multiple LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified buildings
• Excellence in Facilities Management Award from APPA in 1988 and 2019
• Ranked 63 in The 100 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America from 2006-2007
• Ranked 21 in 35 Great Value Colleges with Beautiful Campuses in 2016
A more comprehensive list may be found on our Awards & Recognition web page.
Physical Facilities Departments
Physical Facilities, formerly known as Physical Plant until June 1981, has always been a presence at BYU, even from its early days as Brigham Young Academy. Beginning in 1875, the building maintenance personnel was limited to a one-person janitorial staff that maintained the cleanliness of the academy building and provided coal for the stoves in winter months. Windows were opened in the spring and summer to cool the classrooms. Restrooms were located outside the academy in outhouses, and water was obtained from a nearby well. Lamps and candles were the sole method of lighting in the building until 1890 when the academy installed ten electric lamps, with the first academy telephone following shortly thereafter.
Brigham T. Higgs, a master mechanic and carpenter, was hired as the first director of the Physical Plant for Brigham Young Academy in 1898. Brigham Young Academy was dissolved in 1903 and became Brigham Young High School and Brigham Young University (BYU). B.T. Higgs remained with BYU and instituted student employment at the Physical Plant in 1908. Several of these student employees served as campus security, which began as a division of Physical Plant and remained under its direction until 1952 when the University Police department was established.
In 1904, BYU bought 17 acres of land to the north of the Brigham Young Academy building, known as "Temple Hill," from Provo city to serve as Upper Campus. Construction began in 1909 on the Karl G. Maeser Memorial building, the first building of what is now the current campus.
As new buildings were constructed, the Physical Plant also grew and added specialized departments to fill the rapidly expanding needs of BYU. In 1947, new departments were created that still exist in today's Physical Facilities. The Department of Campus Planning and the Physical Plant were merged into the Department of Physical Plant in October 1957. This new, combined department was under the direction of the Director of Physical Plant. The completion of the Sam F. Brewster Building (BRWB) in September 1962 allowed the newly combined Physical Plant departments to be housed under one roof, greatly improving the speed and efficiency of campus construction in the years that followed.
BYU's Master Planning minutes are evidence that careful plans have been in place as early as 1898 to ensure the university's land and resources will accommodate an ever-growing student body. All proposed campus buildings, and their intended uses, are thoroughly researched and go through a rigorous series of checks and balances before a new building is approved. The design and construction process also has its meticulous checklist to ensure the buildings meet all codes so BYU may maintain a safe and beautiful campus.
Brigham Young Academy, circa 1892
BYU Upper Campus, circa 1927
Brewster Building (BRWB), circa 1962
Physical Facilities Today
Since our humble beginnings in 1875, Physical Facilities has grown from a one-person janitorial staff to approximately 500 full-time and three-quarter time staff and over 1,500 part-time and student employees. All of our departments work together to beautify campus and keep it running, like a well-oiled machine.
Some noteworthy statistics about Physical Facilities and BYU's campus include the following:
- BYU's main campus is 737.61 acres
- 279 buildings on campus with 10,208,784 total gross square footage
- 212 acres of parking lots
- 12 miles of campus roads
- Over 72 miles of sidewalk
- 145 acres of lawn
- Over 17,000 trees
- 200 acres of landscaping
- 50 acres of athletic turf
- 3,060 irrigation systems and over 60,000 sprinklers
- Central Heating Plant Co-Generation facility burns natural gas to heat, cool, and power campus utilizing a Solar Titan 130 turbine (jet engine) operating at 14 MW, with a 16.3 MW capacity
- All campus trash and garbage removal is handled by Physical Facilities
- Maintains a vehicle fleet of over 625 vehicles and provides rentals, repairs, and service
- Over 140 elevators
- Over 40,000 smoke detectors and 7,000 horns, strobes, and speakers
- Recycles approximately 1,400 tons of paper, plastic, and metal and over 150,000 lbs. of used carpet every year
Updated September 2021