Capital maintenance tips for schools facing budget cuts
- Campus building managers can maintain operational integrity by paying closer attention to total facilities costs like debt service, materials, labor and utilities.
- Administrations should be cognizant of trends on campus, and among peer institutions when assessing facilities needs and improvement priorities; these comparisons can help to establish best practices and priorities for capital projects.
- Outdated operation systems, like heating and cooling and unchecked utility usage can stand out on budgets in the public or private sector, and create complicated decisions about replacement vs. renovation.
Deferred maintenance is a commonly-used term in campus budget speak, but can lead to long term problems in allocating or requesting public funds from year to year. Business officers and facilities managers should work closely to determine if long-term savings can be realized with facility replacement, or if preventative maintenance is most ideal for a building or campus; especially since most major construction needs are caused by states cutting back funding, or for private schools, changes in enrollment.
Budget adjustments for facilities, without consideration for long-term savings can impact spending on personnel, institutional aid, endowment and other critical areas of finance. But these adjustments must be made in consideration of how materials, technology and design may dramatically change in coming years, and could impact areas like recruitment and compliance with environmental standards.
- University Business Managing Overhead Expenses