WorkingWithUs

Case Story: University of Massachusetts

Background

This university has worked with Sightlines since 2004, compiling facilities data from FY00-FY12.  In 2005, they engaged Sightlines to provide an Integrated Facilities Plan (IFP) to identify repair and modernization capital needs for the campus. The IFP process, updated every 6 months, identified facilities with low Net Asset Value (NAV). The university asked if specific buildings should be renovated or demolished and rebuilt.  One particular facility was Bosc Hall.

Approach

An analysis of Bosc Hall compiled the 10-year costs associated with continued use and renovation compared to a new facility.  Three key areas of focus were the 10-year capital costs (identified via the IFP), annual operating cost, and energy costs. Using the capital information from the ROPASM analysis, Sightlines was able to estimate demolition and construction cost of a new facility.  Using the Annual Stewardship (AS) model, Sightlines predicted AS needs for the existing Bosc Hall and a comparable replacement facility.  Although some less quantifiable factors remained, these metrics allowed Sightlines to compile the financial argument to either renovate the existing structure or demolish and build a new facility.  The information was shared with the facilities group, campus planning representatives, and the Vice Chancellor of Administration & Finance.

Results

The analysis showed that the university was spending almost four times as much to operate and supply utilities to Bosc Hall than they would for a new facility.  These operating costs, combined with the capital costs and AS needs, showed it was more expensive to renovate the existing structure than to demolish and rebuild.  The university has marked Bosc Hall as a “transitional” building, with plans to relocate occupants to an existing facility and demolish the existing Bosc Hall.  In the interim, any capital investments made into Bosc Hall will be to address emergency issues; thus avoiding the “loss” of the investment when the building is demolished.  A cornerstone of this strategy was the communication of the plan to the occupants of the building, who understand that their requests are being addressed, but that patience is required to allow for the proper planning and construction of the new facility.

“Demolition is never an easy choice. The process of weighing renovation versus rebuilding is made smoother when it is supported with data of the highest quality. In this case, the data showed conclusively that demolition was the right decision.”