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College facilities under pressure

Higher ed leaders in the facilities department must find ways to do more with less
University Business, January 2017
  • Source: UB survey (higher ed respondents represented a mix of suburban, urban and rural campuses); all percentages have been rounded.
  • Less than half of college respondants believe parking will be a larger issue in 2017 than it is now.

A facilities administrator from a suburban institution of 5,000 to 10,000 students says his department faces three challenging realities: increased pressure to reduce operation costs, diminishing resources and a rising deferred maintenance program.

Those sentiments are echoed in results from UB's survey of 44 campus facilities leaders.

More than half believe deferred maintenance will become a bigger issue in 2017 compared to 2016.

But the campus building stock is still growing. More than half of institutions surveyed are launching or continuing the facilities master planning process in 2017, and more than four in 10 report that a new campus facility will open this year. More than one-third will break ground on a new building.

Still, nearly three in 10 will need to scale back or defer a project due to funding cuts.

52%

Facilities leaders say deferred maintenance will become a bigger issue in 2017 compared to 2016.

Most of the administrators surveyed are pretty happy with the impression their campus buildings make, with the majority of them (57 percent) saying most people would give their facilities and upkeep a B grade for quality.

The survey also asked for a letter grade on campus safety and security, with more than two-thirds of respondents saying others would assign a B.

More than eight in 10 plan to increase physical security through the use of technology in 2017, and nearly seven in 10 plan to ramp up safety training for staff or students this year.

Campus facilities report card

What overall grade do facilities leaders think people on campus would give to describe the quality of facilities and their upkeep?

  • A: 27%
  • B: 57%

"B" was also the most popular answer last year and the year before

  • C: 16%
  • D: 0%

5% of respondents in last year’s survey selected a "D" grade

  • F: 0%

Extra facts

  • 52% believe today’s grade is better than what would have been given 5 years ago
  • 36% say it’s about the same as 5 years ago
  • 11% believe it’s a lower grade than would have been given 5 years ago

Campus safety report card

What overall grade do facilities leaders think people would give to describe safety and security on campus?

  • A 21%
  • B 67%
  • C 9%
  • D 2%
  • F 0%

Campus safety and security plans for 2017

Security purchasing:

  • 81% plan to increase security through technology (biometric access, surveillance cameras, kiosks, etc.)
  • 23% plan to increase physical security (fencing, entry barriers, control points, etc.)

The human element:

  • 70% will provide additional safety and security training to staff and/or students
  • 23% will add security personnel

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