How Does It Work?: Space Management

The professional staff member tracking all 7 million square feet of Drexel's owned and leased space explains why it's important to update space changes.
"How Does it Work? Space Management" with a photo of a woman.

This interview is part of DrexelNEWS’ new recurring feature — “How Does It Work?” — spotlighting operational or administrative departments, teams or processes you might not know about, but who keep the Drexel cogs moving each and every day!


Ever wonder how Drexel University assigns rooms and tracks all space changes on campus? Believe it or not, this crucial operation lies in the hands of just one professional staff member! Space Manager Lisa Kilhefner recently sat down with DrexelNEWS to inform the community about all things Space Management, from the unit’s role to important contact information to examples of how they help the community.


Q: Explain the purpose of Space Management.

A: My job is to keep the University’s space inventory up to date, which includes classifying each individual space and organizational/employee occupancy using AutoCAD floor plans and a Computer Aided Facility Management database called FM:Systems, which is the system of record at Drexel. I wear a few other hats, but this is my main priority.


Q: Why do employees need to know about this?

A: Employees should know that someone is keeping track of their assigned space — in floor plan and data formats — so it’s important to report changes to space, which they can do directly to me or to their departmental administrators, so that I can make central updates in our system. The space data is used in a variety of ways: for purposes of taxes and insurance, emergency management, public safety, RCM accounting, environmental health and safety, IT coordination, energy usage reporting, Facilities work requests, external vendors and of course, planning for future space needs. The list goes on. I can’t stress how important it is.

Lisa Kilhefner.

Q: How does Space Management work? Break it down.

A: Space Management is situated within Drexel Real Estate and Facilities. I collect space data in a variety of ways, including obtaining information from my colleagues in Planning, Design and Construction and all University-wide employees, physically visiting buildings, conducting our annual space audit where I ask each program to review their assigned space footprint and, finally, through outcomes of the space allocation/capital asset allocation process when space changes hands or is renovated. I then update floor plans in AutoCAD and space data in FM:Systems, and distribute data as needed. I communicate with professional staff regarding the space request process and the Space Allocation and Renovation Policy. I guess you could say I’m a space data librarian. I don’t make decisions about space; I’m simply trying to get an accurate accounting of what we have. 


Q: What’s one thing you want employees to know about Space Management?

A: I am responsible to track almost 7 million square feet of owned and leased space, so I rely heavily on my partners in the colleges and programs to tell me when space changes. I’m a one-woman show and can’t physically walk every building, so I appreciate folks reporting even the smallest thing, like changing an office to a storage room or removing a wall. On the flip side, I am a resource for employees who need space data for their internal program needs.


Q: What are some examples of things you recently did to help?


  • To help understand and contain the University’s costs, I reviewed and corrected building owner leased space calculations for adherence to referenced standards.
  • Not so recent but worth mentioning: I collaborated with Environmental Health and Radiation Safety to create social distancing layouts for instructional spaces during COVID, so that in-person classes could continue safely.
  • I worked with University Communications [Editor’s Note: now the Division of University Marketing and Communications] to update the campus map to reflect our current building inventory.
  • I provided large-scale floor plans to the College of Nursing and Health Professions with employee names so they could hang them up in the new Health Sciences Building for wayfinding.
  • I created custom color-coded floor plans for our colleagues in Facilities to identify specific mechanical rooms in leased space.

Q: Could you share a fun fact about yourself with the community?

A: I am a proud Dragon! I graduated from Drexel in 2004 from the Interior Design program. It’s incredible to see how much of the University City Campus has changed since that time, not to mention the other campuses. I love being part of my alma mater to directly impact the student experience for a newer generation.


To get in touch with Lisa, you can email or Visit the Real Estate and Facilities website for more information about Space Management.