Franklin & Marshall College Regains Facilities Planning Stability

Franklin & Marshall College Regains Facilities Planning Stability

Identified and prioritized over 2,000 maintenance needs



Developed a well-balanced 10-year strategic facilities plan



"A level of analysis we have only dreamed of."


Background: A Prolonged Lean Toward Building New

Franklin & Marshall College’s capital program had been predominately focused on new construction for half a decade, with strategic initiatives that included a science building and a residence hall to support programmatic priorities. With such a heavy emphasis placed on new construction, the Facilities and Finance departments wanted to track the maintenance needs of existing spaces to ensure they weren’t neglected. To do so, Franklin & Marshall enlisted Gordian to analyze the condition of their existing facilities and benchmark them against peer campuses.

Facilities are a major part of any organization’s multiyear capital planning strategy. The right facilities investments — or the wrong ones — can make or break the success of a long-term plan. Watch this video advice about facilities considerations to make during long-term capital planning.

Analysis: The Risks of Losing Facilities Planning Balance

The analysis revealed that Franklin & Marshall needed to increase investment into their existing spaces to stem growing backlogs of deferred maintenance. Upon hearing this, campus leaders needed to know the best way to prioritize projects for facilities planning. Gordian’s Return on Physical Assets (ROPA) process identified, qualified and priced 2,000 deferred maintenance, life cycle and modernization projects that would come due over the next decade, consistently codifying each project within a single database. Campus leaders were then able to evaluate each project by four key areas: reliability, urgency, building value and impact to campus mission. They then ranked buildings from highest to lowest priority.

“Their process was thorough and provided a level of analysis we have only dreamed of. We now have a complete understanding of each of our systems and buildings to help us prioritize what projects to invest in with finite resources.” – David Proulx | Former Vice President of Finance and Administration, Franklin & Marshall College

Result: Getting Existing Facilities Back on the Project List

Through ROPA analysis and the ranking system, Gordian and campus leaders flagged 10 buildings as the highest priority, built a log of needs for each and presented it the Board of Trustees Building and Finance Committee. Based on the prioritization process, both short- and long-term capital plans were established, and the Board committed to moving forward with renovations on the short-term plan while using recommendations from the long-term plan to shape Franklin & Marshall’s 10-year facilities planning investment strategy.