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Many institutions of higher education are being squeezed between two pressures: a growing deferred maintenance backlog and increasing needs for capital expansion as they compete for students, faculty, and research dollars. For a number of years, the majority of campuses have remained focused on short-term planning for facilities investments, deferring maintenance needs until a later date (but often without reliable data on facilities condition). This continued deferral of maintenance needs is placing greater strains by the year on already limited budgets for facilities management.
It's critical to develop a sustainable model for funding facilities replacement and renewal. To learn from successful models currently in place at two very different institutions, we turned to Faramarz Vakili, the University of Wisconsin-Madison's associate director of the physical plant, and Kathie Shafer, the vice president for operations at Messiah College. These models are both creative in their approaches to funding maintenance needs and forward-thinking in their prioritization of facilities projects.
"No one wants to fund repairs for HVAC or roofing. It's not sexy. There's no pizazz in it. But we need to prioritize this. We need to think about our long-term costs."
Kathie Shafer, Messiah College
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