Emerging Challenges for Higher Ed Campuses Identified at Sightlines’ Regional “Insights Workshops”

Series of member events across country explore best practices in management of campus facilities

Guilford, Conn. – November 30, 2016 – Colleges and universities of all sizes and charters are facing similar challenges related to funding and maintenance of their facilities, according to higher ed executives who convened at a series of regional workshops hosted by Sightlines, a Gordian company and leader in facilities intelligence and analysis for higher education institutions.

Sightlines’ “Insights Workshops” is a unique series of educational forums that explores best practices in campus facilities management. The recurring themes in the discussions at the 2016 regional events included the following:

  • The continuing professionalization of higher ed campus facilities management has an increasing number of executives relying on the use of objective data and analytics to steer their resource allocation decisions;
  • Ongoing growth in deferred maintenance at institutions is not being matched with growth in capital investments;
  • There is an emerging consensus among college facilities executives that institutions need to break down the silos that are still common between the professionals charged with space planning, capital expenditures and campus operations; and
  • Campus leaders are increasingly engaging with facilities executives in discussions about the impact of aging facilities on reputational and financial risk to their institutions.

“The opportunity for our members to meet and interact with colleagues from a wide range of different institutional affinity groups created an excellent platform for the exchange of ideas and perspectives,” said Peter Zuraw, vice president of market strategy and development at Sightlines. “Each meeting was structured to enable attendees to gather valuable industry knowledge and make important professional connections along the way.”

Zuraw joined Sightlines earlier this year after most recently serving as assistant vice president of facilities management and planning at Wellesley College.

“There were also some interesting contrasts between the regions where we hosted the workshops,” said Zuraw. “For example, most regions in the country are facing serious challenges associated with declining student enrollments and recent space growth. However, the opposite is true in Texas and California, where applications continue to surge and enrollments remain as high as ever, leaving campuses unable to grow fast enough.”

The regional workshops were held in September-November 2016 in Annapolis, Md.; Chicago, Ill.; San Antonio, Texas; San Diego, Calif. and Tarrytown, N.Y. Attendees included executives from community colleges, colleges and universities, from both public and private schools, and from small, mid-sized and large institutions. The forums were intimate gatherings, smaller in size and shorter in duration than Sightlines’ national “Insights Summit” member conference, which the company will host again in the Fall of 2017.

At each event, Sightlines executives provided attendees with a sneak preview into the key findings from State of Facilities in Higher Education for 2016 – Sightlines’ widely anticipated annual report that highlights key trends and best practices in campus facilities management. That report will be released publicly in the coming weeks.

For more information about how to become a Sightlines member, please email insights@sightlines.com.