Colleges embrace honesty to explain why campus buildings aren't being used

Dive Brief:

  • School officials say that "honesty is the best policy" when it comes to explaining unoccupied buildings on campus to prospective students and families — and the topic is a growing point of emphasis as schools are adjusting facility use to enrollment and programmatic trends, causing an increase in unoccupied buildings. 
  • Admission officials say that telling visitors about the reasons behind closures are the ideal way to showcase the campus as a growing and responsible institution while bringing attention to its future, University Business reports
  • Many buildings are shuttered because leaving them unoccupied costs less than demolition, removal or renovation. 

Dive Insight:

Students and parents are likely to be understanding of why a building may not be in use, but a stronger approach to facility management could be to offer mixed use opportunities to local businesses and start-up companies. While these kinds of efforts would likely have to be funded and managed by institutional foundations, they could be the kind of business development projects which could integrate the community onto the campus, spur partnerships in research and workforce pipelines and create valuable revenue streams for endowment support. 

Colleges do not have to stick to old ways of business development and revenue. With daily growth in technology and access, there are too many buildings and too much opportunity for campus leaders to maximize space and revenue with strategic partnerships. 

Filed Under: Higher Ed Technology
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