APLU Engages Sightlines to Conduct Comprehensive Study of Deferred Maintenance Practices

Association of Public and Land-grant Universities Engages Sightlines to Conduct Comprehensive Study of Deferred Maintenance Practices

Study to provide APLU member campuses with insight into future impact of deferred maintenance and offer practical insights for campus leaders

Sightlines, a leader in helping academic institutions better manage their facilities and capital investment strategies, today announced that it has been engaged by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) to conduct a comprehensive study of deferred maintenance in select buildings on a number of its members’ campuses.

Founded in 1887, the APLU is a research, policy and advocacy organization of public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems and higher education organizations. Sightlines will study deferred maintenance practices in buildings on those APLU member campuses surveyed that house agriculture, forestry, veterinary sciences, food sciences and human sciences academic programs, and agriculture extension sites. These buildings are used to conduct major research funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other public and private entities.

“The purpose of our study is to provide the APLU leadership, academic deans, researchers and facilities executives at the surveyed APLU member campuses with a reliable set of data on these important buildings so they can better understand the amount and potential future impact of deferred maintenance, as well as the implications for continuing to conduct leading-edge academic research in the 21st century,” said James Kadamus, vice president at Sightlines and the principal executive for the study.

Deferred maintenance refers to the postponement of maintenance activities and capital investments — such as repairs on property, facilities and machinery — in order to match limited budgets or realign available resources.

“This is an important effort for our institutions, individually and collectively, and will allow a substantial detailed presentation of our infrastructure deficiencies that need to be addressed to more effectively and efficiently deliver programs in research, extension and instruction if we are to meet the challenges of the future,” said Ian Maw, vice president of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources at APLU.

The Sightlines research team will collect data on buildings at participating universities and then validate the data collected against their proprietary databases, which includes deferred maintenance backlog data for more than 600 campuses, or approximately 25 percent of all campuses in the U.S. The final deliverable will be a written report that will document the amount of deferred maintenance at APLU member campuses and specific recommendations for actions that can be taken at the campus, state and national levels to address facilities management challenges.

In 2014, Sightlines conducted a similar study of deferred maintenance in Canadian universities that was published by the Canadian University Business Officers.

The final report for the APLU study is projected for completion in spring 2015.