Building Portfolios Inform Master Plan

Ithaca College drives for transformation while planning for the future

Background

When a new chief facilities officer (CFO) began at Ithaca College, the institution had already been a Sightlines member since 2006. After reviewing multiple years of data, the CFO made note of a number of issues that concerned him:

  • 58% of Ithaca’s space fell into the post war construction era which is characterized by poor quality construction
  • At $95/GSF, Ithaca’s deferred maintenance (DM) needs were higher than their peers.
  • Their DM backlog had grown to $251M in 2011 up from $167M in 2007.

Although Ithaca had a favorable age profile with more than half of its space under 25 years old, Sightlines projections showed that a shift was occurring. By 2023 Ithaca’s space profile would be dominated by space more than 25 years old.

Analysis

At the time, Ithaca College was in the early stages of creating a Master Plan that would become the “framework for the transformation of the South Hill Campus.” Critical to the plan was the evaluation by Sightlines of the physical condition of Ithaca’s facilities. Sightlines identified $175M in deferred maintenance projects that would be required over the next 10 years. When broken down by timeframe, it was revealed that many building deficiencies would demand attention within the first 1-3 years. These needs created the opportunity to avoid deferred maintenance by replacing or significantly renovating space and addressing strategic objectives. By looking at the Net Asset Value (NAV) and the programmatic value of campus buildings, Ithaca was able to create four investment categories: Major Capital Renovations, Stewardship, Transitional, and Maintain/Repurpose.

Results

These categories directly informed the Master Plan and the strategy for deferred maintenance funding. In May 2015, both the Master Plan and DM funding were approved. Using Sightlines’ BPS analysis, Ithaca was able to secure $40M over a span of 5 years (from FY16-FY20) to be used directly on existing space DM projects.

The Master Plan outlines a clear direction and sets the stage for success in the future. Going forward the work will continue to ensure that the Master Plan and the Condition Audit data are living documents.