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5 Trends in Higher Ed
EMBRACING TECHNOLOGY IS KEY FOR FACILITY
MANAGERS AT COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
Colleges and universities around the U.S. are feeling the financial burn from decreasing tuition revenue and wavering public support. These concerns will reach facilities professionals trying to keep up with this ever-changing sector.
Professional services firm JLL has identified some key trends for facilities in higher
education, with a focus on technology and space management.
“With tech-enabled classrooms and connected living and gathering spaces,
“We’re seeing more chief business officers being hired from the private sector
campuses are evolving to provide today’s students with the wired experience they
expect,” says David Houck, Co-Leader of JLL’s Higher Education practice. “It has
been widely publicized that higher education institutions are also experiencing sig-
nificant financial pressures. As a result, some are rethinking how they plan, deliver,
manage and maintain their facilities because facilities are second only to personnel
in campus expenditures.”
To brace for some economic hardships, higher education institutions are adopting
the practices of the private sector.
rather than academia,” says Houck. “These executives are opening the door to fresh
thinking about outsourcing strategies and looking at facility management and
public-private partnerships as a means of filling funding gaps.”
Future Financing for Facilities
According to Houck and Higher Education practice Co-Leader Kevin Wayer, five
major trends will affect higher education facilities.
1) Smarter use of space: The modes of learning have changed, which has affected
how educators use facilities. For example, JLL identifies how the rise of smaller class
sizes that emphasize collaboration has lessened the need for classic lecture halls.
These changes have led to schools altering existing space to meet their needs.
“Brand-new facilities can help ‘sell’ a campus to students, and some donors
like the opportunity to leave a lasting legacy on campus,” says Wayer. “However,
stretched resources and the drive for cost efficiency mean institutions have a greater
appetite for repurposing underutilized spaces.”
2) Outsourced facility management: Under a budget crunch, some institutions are
hiring agencies to take care of facilities management.
3) Leveraging technology for efficiency: Staying updated on how to use data and
insight tools for facilities is an easy way to cut costs.
“Universities have a ton of data, but it’s not typically aggregated in a way that
allows them to assess opportunities for savings,” says Wayer. However, facility man-
agers can leverage building data into actionable insights.
4) Facility management driving tech enablement: Many schools are educating
facility managers on how to get the most out of their technology. Some send facili-
ties professionals to seminars and conferences so they are able to effectively use the
latest technologies that drive efficiency.
5) Alternative financing for new construction and renovation projects: Public-
private partnerships are becoming more common and provide options for building
improvements outside of public funding. These financing plans have been used for
student housing, but schools are using them for other facilities now.
“Students, faculty and administrators alike want their campuses to be sustainable,
tech-friendly, vibrant communities,” says Houck.
“One thing is certain: colleges and universities are searching for creative solutions
and partnerships to help realize their goals for the student experience and campus