Continuing campus construction

Nearly four in 10 survey respondents expect to break ground on a new facility in 2015
By: | Issue: January, 2015
December 21, 2014

The encouraging sounds of construction will be heard on many campuses in 2015, but funding shortages will force some institutions to scale back building plans, according to a UB survey of higher ed facilities managers.

Nearly four in 10 respondents expect to break ground on a new facility in 2015, while more than one-third say a new facility will be completed. And seven in 10 reported that a major renovation project would be launched or completed.

However, nearly a quarter of respondents said construction or renovation projects could be deferred or scaled back due to funding issues.

Although the type of projects being deferred weren’t specified, administrators are seeing increased need for student housing. One-quarter of respondents expect housing shortages in 2015.

In terms of managing facilities, some colleges and universities are looking to reduce part of their in-house burden. Fourteen percent said that in 2015 their institutions will likely outsource some aspect of operations or maintenance that had previously been handled by campus staff.

Respondents cited technology as the top solution for securing their campus facilities. Over six in 10 said schools would use cameras, security kiosks or biometric systems to make buildings safer. More than half plan to provide more security training to staff and students, while just two in 10 expect to add more security personnel.

A majority of administrators feel pretty good about the condition of their facilities. Nearly 20 percent gave their facilities an A grade, while 57 percent gave themselves a B. And more than half said their facilities are in better shape than they were five years ago.

The UB facilities survey was part of a broader set of trend surveys deployed to readers in late 2014. A total of 470 higher education leaders participated.