UAFS Combats Deferred Maintenance Costs with Campus Space Utilization

UAFS Combats Deferred Maintenance Costs with Campus Space Utilization

1.3 Million

Gross Square Feet on Campus



16%

Enrollment Drop since 2012



$730,000

Deferred Maintenance Costs Avoided


Challenge: Over-Expanding Campus Spaces

The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith (UAFS) is a four-year public institution that annually prepares about 5,300 students for the workforce. UAFS’s campus is comprised of 1.3 million gross square feet, which includes 36 buildings on 195 acres. After transitioning from life as a two-year institution in the early 2000s, UAFS began expanding their campus footprint to support new program offerings and student life experiences.

Despite continued expansion efforts, enrollment at UAFS has declined by 16% since 2012. Under pressure to decrease costs and optimize campus space, UAFS enlisted Gordian to conduct a detailed space utilization study of all teaching spaces.

Solution: Addressing Excess Space through Utilization Rates

Gordian compiled a detailed database of all scheduled spaces, capacities and technology assets through a rigorous utilization analysis, segmented by ownership and classroom type. In doing so, Gordian uncovered several unknown and important facts about how UAFS used its campus space. Although peak hours reached a 70% utilization rate, overall utilization on campus was less than half that at 34%.

Although peak hours reached a 70% utilization rate, overall utilization on campus was less than half that at 34%.

Focus groups comprised of deans, department heads and faculty helped determine that department-controlled scheduling practices contributed considerably to the low utilization marks and stymied UAFS’s ability to effectively share available campus spaces. Collaboration among the group also identified useful and flexible technologies for standardizing course materials and scheduling.

Result: Shedding Costs with Data-Guided Right-Sizing

In the end, it was determined that right-sizing campus was the only method guaranteed to reduce fixed costs. Doing so would also create an opportunity to assess space ownership and address underlying factors driving the problematic space utilization trends.

The immediate result was a deferred maintenance reduction of $730,000. Overall, UAFS’s plan will result in a cost avoidance of $4.1 million in deferred maintenance needs.

To start this right-sizing endeavor, a core academic space, identified in Gordian’s assessment as a high-need and low-value building, was taken offline. The immediate result was a deferred maintenance reduction of $730,000. Two additional facilities were identified as divestment candidates, which can also move offline as UAFS transitions their theatre program to a community space. Overall, UAFS’s plan will result in a cost avoidance of $4.1 million in deferred maintenance needs.

Gordian

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 Sightlines 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.