Integrated Facilities Plan Helps UMass Secure Much-Needed Funding

Integrated Facilities Plan Helps UMass Secure Much-Needed Funding

Reinvestment backlog of $2 billion



330 buildings, 11 million gross square feet assessed



$300 million backlog reduction in just three years


Background: Deteriorating Buildings and Diminished Funding

More than a decade ago, UMass Amherst began to address factors driving high levels of deferred maintenance and the associated risks to the university mission, faculty and students. The deterioration of campus facilities was greater than anticipated, and the high average age of their buildings was a major concern. Limited capital investment and reliance on diminishing state capital funds had produced an asset reinvestment backlog of nearly $2 billion. Despite major problems with building systems, envelope and infrastructure, capital funding was weighted toward space renewal, as space demands made it difficult to justify demolition of buildings in use. 

Limited capital investment and reliance on diminishing state capital funds had produced an asset reinvestment backlog of nearly $2 billion.

Solution: Mapping the Backlog Mountain

UMass Amherst worked with Gordian to develop an integrated facilities plan, which resulted in a detailed list of repair, modernization and infrastructure needs. The first assessment cataloged all 330 buildings and over 11 million gross square feet of campus space. With this information, finance and facilities leaders developed a multi-year capital strategy, set priorities and advocated for funding resources. This plan was used to demonstrate to university leadership that a major infusion of capital was critical. The comprehensive assessment found $1.6 billion of needs within buildings, plus another $80 million in utility delivery systems and infrastructure needs. Gordian also recommended adding $571 million of new space to meet academic and program requirements. Four Building Portfolios were created to segment campus facilities by project needs and mission, and to guide investment decisions. 

Over the following three years, the backlog of projects was reduced by more than $300 million, and space renovation projects were reduced from 41% of total backlog to 29in five years’ time.

Result: Securing Support and Funds for the Climb

With the integrated facilities plan and its defined Building Portfolios, senior leaders understood the scope of the problem and created a well-documented plan to support additional funding for the facilities backlog. When a state Higher Education Bond Bill was approved, UMass received approximately $600 million to apply to facilities needs. They also received approval to borrow $215.6 million to undertake new construction and renovation projects. 

Over the following three years, the backlog of projects was reduced by more than $300 million, and space renovation projects were reduced from 41% of total backlog to 29in five years’ timeMajor investments were made in campus utility plant and building systems, providing economic return for the campus in reduced energy consumption and costs. In an effort to avoid the accumulation of future backlogs, annual stewardship of newer buildings has been increased.