This institutions’ main campus is almost 4 million square feet, and educates over 18,000 students. Less than 50 years old, the university experienced significant growth in the 1990’s (expanding campus by 264%) and the 2000’s (expanding another 182%). The campus has a diverse space profile.
Sightlines took a multi-pronged approach for this dynamic university with a rapidly changing facilities department.
The first major issue Sightlines conveyed was regarding a more balanced capital planning process. Over the past decade, the strategy has been capitally focused but Sightlines helped campus leadership recognize that these assets will require future stewardship funding.
The second major issue that Sightlines communicated through benchmarking was that the university was out of balance in terms of maintenance coverage (GSF/FTE) and custodial coverage (GSF/FTE). Maintenance trades covered more than double the amount of space as peers, but custodial trades covered less than half the amount of space as peers. Operational benchmarks were presented annually, and discussions occurred to determine what could be done to rebalance the resources.
Campus leadership took action after hearing the Sightlines recommendations regarding stewardship. The COO established a reserve account for facilities with $1M from the operating budget. The campus is in the process of establishing policies related to the management of the fund.
Within maintenance, Sightlines data was used to make the case to HR department to hire more staff to replace outsourced workers and elongate the work week. This will reduce overtime and shift the focus to planned maintenance. Within custodial, the university is using Sightlines data to help re-bid the contract and release operational dollars, which could then be recycled into the recurring capital fund.
“Given the progress we have made in setting up a stewardship fund and rebalancing our maintenance and custodial work force, we think of Sightlines as a valuable resource with regard to broad campus issues. Sightlines will help us conduct a classroom utilization project that will shape decisions about future campus planning.”