Feature Article - June 2016
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Colleges & Universities

A Look at Trends in Colleges & Universities

College Facilities

More than half (51.9 percent) of college respondents said they had seen an increase in the number of people using their facilities from 2014 to 2015, with similar numbers expecting increases in 2016 and 2017. Some 48.7 percent said they expect usage to increase in 2016, and 47.7 percent expect increases in 2017. (See Figure 48.) And while 6.9 percent saw a decrease from 2014 to 2015, just 3 percent expect a decrease in 2016, and 2.8 percent projected a decrease in 2016.

After increasing slightly in 2013 and 2014, the percentage of college respondents who report that they are planning construction has fallen for the past couple of years. While 54.6 percent of college respondents in 2012 had plans for construction, that number rose to 59.2 percent in 2013, and 60.4 percent in 2014, before falling to 58.7 percent in 2015. This year, 56.5 percent of college respondents said they had plans for construction. This compares with 67.7 percent of non-college respondents.

Nearly a quarter of college respondents in 2016 said they are planning new construction (24.1 percent) or additions to their existing facilities (24.9 percent). Another 36.7 percent are planning to make renovations to their existing facilities. (See Figure 49.)

Despite the fact that they are less likely to be planning construction, college respondents continue to be the biggest spenders when it comes to the construction they are planning. College respondents with construction plans reported that they would spend, on average, 71.6 percent more than the average for all respondents—$6,037,000 vs. $3,519,000. That said, college respondents saw their construction budgets fall at a sharper rate than the across-the-board decrease. While construction budgets for all respondents
fell by 12.5 percent from 2015 to 2016, among college respondents, construction spending fell 22.4 percent, from $7,775,000 in 2015 to $6,037,000 in 2016.

There was very little change in the past year in the various features most commonly found among college respondents' facilities. The 10 features that are currently most common include: fitness centers; locker rooms; indoor courts for sports like basketball and volleyball; exercise studio rooms; classrooms and meeting rooms; bleachers and seating; natural turf sports fields such as football or soccer fields; Wi-Fi services; outdoor sports courts; and indoor tracks.

College respondents were less likely than non-college respondents to report that they had plans to add features at their facilities over the next three years. While 43.6 percent of non-college respondents had such plans, some 36.3 percent of college respondents said they would be adding features. This is a slight decrease from 2015, when 37.9 percent of college respondents said they had plans to add features.