Feature Article - June 2019
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Colleges & Universities

A Look at Trends in Colleges & Universities


College Facilities

After falling substantially over a few years, the percentage of college respondents who reported an increase in the number of people using their facilities year-over-year held steady in 2018. In 2015, 51.9 percent of college respondents said the number of people using their facilities increased, while 41.3 percent saw an increase in 2016, and 38 percent saw an increase in 2017. In 2018, 38.1 percent of college respondents said the number of people using their facilities had increased, while 54.4 percent reported no change, and 7.5 percent saw a decrease. (See Figure 46.)

Looking forward, slightly fewer college respondents expect to see an increase in usage in 2019 (37.7 percent), while 43 percent are anticipating an increase in 2020. At the same time, the percentage expecting usage to decrease climbs to 8.9 percent in 2019 before falling back to 4.2 percent in 2020.

While the number of respondents with construction plans overall has grown over the past several years, for college respondents those numbers have held fairly steady. In 2019, 58 percent of college respondents said they have plans for construction, up from 54.1 percent in 2018. This compares with 72.1 percent of non-college respondents.

There was a significant increase in the number of college respondents who said they have plans for renovations at their existing facilities, from 37.1 percent in 2018 to 46.7 percent in 2019. Another 22.7 percent said they are planning new construction, while 23.3 percent are planning to make additions to their existing facilities. (See Figure 47.)

The amount that college respondents have budgeted for their construction plans fell 20.4 percent in 2019, from an average of $9,500,000 to $7,560,000. This is likely due to the much higher number planning renovations and slightly lower number planning new construction. As is generally the case, college respondents have the highest construction budgets, planning to spend nearly twice as much (48.8 percent more) as the average for all respondents. Looking back to 2017, when there was a more comparable number of college respondents planning new construction, construction budgets have fallen 2.9 percent, from an average of $7,786,000 in 2017 to $7,560,000 in 2019.