In Brief: Capital Allocation in Higher Education 

For higher education institutions to obtain lasting success, strategic decision-making is a necessity. Campus leaders are driven to the drawing board for new strategies to meet demands from cultural, demographic and economic shifts. There is growing pressure to be more efficient with fewer resources. Facilities management leaders must make a strong case for fiscally responsible campus improvements in order to achieve stakeholder buy-in.

In a recent article on Facility Executive, Pete Zuraw, Vice President of Market Strategy and Development for Sightlines, a Gordian company, wrote “Improving Strategy for Capital Allocation in Higher Education” about ways facilities managers can strategically align projects with institutional goals to acquire funding for capital projects.

Strategize better with a building portfolio.Facilities Data

Facility needs often seem unending. When navigating resource allocation issues, facilities managers need a good roadmap. A building portfolio is a tool to guide executives on the path to achieve campus goals. The portfolio framework includes insightful performance and physical data of all campus systems, buildings and areas. All of this crucial data helps lead strategic planning discussions.

Communicate beyond the technical details.

A building portfolio is a reliable assessment of campus conditions, with technical details to reinforce funding requests. But when communicating to stakeholders, it’s important to express how maintenance and operations dollars are impacting the school’s mission. Being able to communicate the “why” behind your projects will prove more effective than task descriptions. Administrators will be more inclined to prioritize funding “for the protection of staff and students” over a project to “repair holes made by IT upgrades through classroom firewalls.”

Facilities Planning Meeting

A balanced portfolio equals a healthy campus.

A balanced building portfolio will meet programmatic and technical projects, seeing to the needs of academic departments, student life and maintenance. An imbalance in the portfolio will likely cause a school to lose institutional effectiveness.

Effectively communicating funding needs to board members and administration can be challenging for the best facilities managers. To break through communication barriers, facility leaders need to align campus improvements with critical investment solutions that strengthen the institutional mission. A balanced building portfolio helps leaders connect the dots between finance and facilities. These connections allow for better discussions which lead executives to prioritize and select capital projects that drive campus goals.

Read the full article for more details and download the Facilities Guide To Building A Better Case With Your Board to continue to improve the conversation in higher education facilities management.