The 1960s wave of college campus construction done to accommodate the massive Baby Boom generation is now nearing the end of its natural facility life span with few indications that a similar national facility expansion will replace it.
That’s one of the conclusions of a report issued by a Guilford, Connecticut-based company that tracks trends in higher education.
According to the report entitled State of Facilities in Higher Education by the Sightlines company, the Baby Boom-era buildings today account for up to 40 percent of facility space on the nation’s college campuses, “creating significant stress on institutions as to what to do with those buildings.”
At the same time, another wave of campus facility construction from the 1990s to the 2000s is expected to require significant maintenance outlays in the coming decade, representing yet another capital demand on the nation’s universities and colleges.
Despite such challenges and an ongoing lack of funding options, many schools, according to the report, have taken on new construction projects in the last decade.
In fact, there has been a more than 10 percent growth in new facility construction since 2006, outdistancing an 8 percent growth in the schools’ overall enrollment.
Even so, said Mark Schiff, president of Sightlines, the vast majority of the nation’s institutions of higher learning “continue to underestimate the renewal needs of deteriorating spaces while pushing high-risk investments into new facilities.”
By Garry Boulard
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