Carnegie Mellon Establishes New Campus Facilities Funding Program

Carnegie Mellon Establishes New Campus Facilities Funding Program


Campus buildings and facilities assessed

5.58 million

Gross square feet of space analyzed


Stewardship plan for renovations and divestments

Challenge: Programs Outpacing Facilities

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is a competitive, top-tier research university with aspirations to continue their climb up industry rankings and further enhance student and faculty recruitment. Over the years, CMU has focused campus investments on program development, growing faculty, increasing research opportunities and student financial assistance. So, while the Pennsylvania university soared up the rankings due to their program achievements, the needs of their physical campus were generally neglected and campus facilities funding was lacking.

Solution: Reliable Data and a New Campus Facilities Funding Model

CMU’s facilities leadership contacted Gordian to create a new facilities investment framework. Gordian assessed and analyzed 44 buildings on campus, totaling 5.58 million gross square feet of space. Technical walkthroughs were conducted on all academic and research spaces to create a credible list of asset conditions and deficiencies. Throughout the process, interviews were performed with maintenance operators and facilities directors to set timeframes, priority levels and pricing for deficiencies in each space.

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With this data, strategic building segments were created based on the overall conditions and program values of all assessed spaces. These segments helped facilitate a new investment framework. Under CMU’s previous campus facilities funding model, facilities projects were funded by either program dollars or capital renewal. The new approach, however, would see funds applied to the buildings in better condition with moderate-to-high program value in order to ensure effective stewardship. Buildings in poorer condition would then be evaluated for either divestment potential or major renovations, which would draw from a new “central allocation” funding source.

Result: Top to Bottom Facilities Support

Equipped with new data, metrics and models, CMU’s facilities leaders created a 10-year investment plan to guide stewardship, renovations and divestments. They have also established regular communication with senior university leadership to foster support for action plans and provide education for how to prioritize facilities investments. At these meetings, facilities leaders and senior leadership work together to identify constraints on action plans to help narrow the focus on the most critical needs.

CMU is now utilizing three key portfolio performance metrics to benchmark their campus facilities funding and performance to peer campuses. These benchmarks are measured often, and results are shared with senior leadership to further foster communication across channels. Additionally, Gordian continues to provide CMU with actual and projected values for investment priorities based on the ongoing 10-year plan.


About Gordian

Gordian is the leader in facility and construction cost data, software and services for all phases of the building lifecycle. A pioneer of Job Order Contracting, Gordian’s solutions also include proprietary RSMeans data construction costs and Facility Intelligence Solutions. From planning to design, to procurement, construction and operations, Gordian’s solutions help clients maximize efficiency, optimize cost savings and increase building quality.