Register
Harper Midway College, Chicago, Illinois. (photo: )
Harper Midway College, Chicago, Illinois.
01.08.2018, 20:17

A Framework for Thinking More Strategically about Capital Allocation

Real Estate, Healthcare & Educational Facilities, Real Estate Management, Americas
Pete Zuraw, Vice President, Market Strategy & Development at Sightlines, says administrators who want to make the best choices for the future of their higher education institution need the right tools.

 

Too often administrators are lacking in a clear picture of their overall facility needs, making it a challenge to prioritize facilities investments. For small campuses in particular, making decisions based on the latest, rather than most pressing, need can stretch resources too far and lead to potentially disastrous results.

 

One tool that can prove particularly valuable to these campus decision-makers is the building portfolio. This framework can help administrators understand how each area across their campuses drives institutional goals, making it much easier to prioritize capital projects.



Creating a Framework

Colleges and universities around the country are facing stiff new competition for resources from online schools and vocational schools, not to mention a declining pool of potential applicants. As a result, it’s more important than ever that these institutions, particularly the smallest among them, spend their money strategically. Through a building portfolio framework, administrators gain a system of prioritizing investments and matching capital allocation to their school’s overreaching goals.

 

A building portfolio, much like a financial portfolio, provides a method of segmenting assets into different categories to determine where to best invest resources. Through this framework, administrators gain clarity into how each asset fits into the institution’s overall goals. With this understanding, developing the right investment plan becomes more manageable, and decision-making becomes more outcome-based.


Organizing the Portfolio

So how do you create a building portfolio? The first step is a reliable assessment of campus conditions that identifies current deficiencies and defines needs. The next step is to understand institutional goals by meeting with campus stakeholders from across all areas of the institution. The goals identified through these discussions will ultimately serve as the “why” behind every facilities investment.

When administrators can connect specific facilities needs to these goals, they gain invaluable insight into how operations and maintenance spending impacts the school’s mission.


Balancing Campus Needs

Creating the framework, however, is simply the first step. With this framework in place, administrators can begin to understand how to organize facilities and prioritize projects within their portfolio. With a clear view of the broad picture, it’s possible to identify which areas are in most need of investment and pinpoint those systems that might see the greatest improvement and identify the most effective strategies for investing.

 

A portfolio should strike a balance between programmatic and technical projects, alternating among academic and student life demands as well as facilities’ needs. Leaning too far toward any one area can cost colleges their effectiveness.

 

In some cases, this framework will make priorities very clear. For example, if the “why” behind a project is “for the safety of students and/or staff,” then that project is likely to take the lead. Once these life safety needs are met, administrators may turn to projects that meet goals such as increasing enrollment levels. From there they can pinpoint projects from within this balanced portfolio that are likely to meet this need—building new research space or modernizing a technology center, perhaps.

 

Through a balanced building portfolio, administrators can create a clear pathway for achieving goals that meet varying campus priorities. This strategic approach simplifies the tough process of aligning capital, and stretching available resources, to meet all institutional priorities.

 

 

 

 

About Pete Zuraw 

Pete Zuraw is VP Market Strategy & Development at Sightlines (a Gordian Company).
Pete Zuraw is VP Market Strategy & Development at Sightlines (a Gordian Company).
Pete Zuraw is vice president of market strategy and development at Sightlines which is edicated to helping complex campuses make more strategic, data-driven decisions for facilities planning. By providing campus executives reliable data and objective analysis, Sightlines gives institutions the tools to unify discussions around space, operations, and capital, bridging the communication gap between facilities and finance. A Gordiancompany since 2015, Sightlines’ solutions have become a central component of the Building Lifecycle.

 

A graduate of Lehigh University, Pete joined Sightlines after serving 11 years as assistant vice president of facilities management at Wellesley College where he led a 150-person organization and was responsible for the management of a 400-acre campus that is home to one of America’s leading private liberal arts colleges.

 

Previously, Pete was director of facilities and operations at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA, director of facilities services at Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation in Washington, DC, and assistant director of facilities at Vermont College of Norwich University in Montpelier, VT.

 

 

 

 

 

Article rating:

vote data

 (photo: Rentokil Initial plc)
News Editor  - 01.03.2018, 08:30

Strong Growth from Rentokil Initial

FTSE 100 business services group Rentokil Initial has announced revenue growth of 14.5 per cent and on-going operating profits of 14.8 per cent in preliminary results for the year ended 31 December...

(Photograph courtesy of Tookapic). (photo: )
Marissa Francis  - 05.03.2018, 17:13

The Definition of 'Clever'

Marissa Francis, Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Improver with ABM UK, explains why university isn't the only route into facilities management.

New chargepoint installation at Southampton Airport. (photo: Southampton Airport)
AGS Airports  - 26.03.2018, 11:30

Southampton Airport Adds EV Chargepoints

Southampton Airport is helping power the growing number of electric vehicle (EV) drivers on UK roads with the installation of seven new Pod Point 7kW chargepoints in its short stay and priority...

(Photograph courtesy of Tookapic). (photo: )
Marissa Francis  - 05.03.2018, 17:13

The Definition of 'Clever'

Marissa Francis, Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Improver with ABM UK, explains why university isn't the only route into facilities management.

New chargepoint installation at Southampton Airport. (photo: Southampton Airport)
AGS Airports  - 26.03.2018, 11:30

Southampton Airport Adds EV Chargepoints

Southampton Airport is helping power the growing number of electric vehicle (EV) drivers on UK roads with the installation of seven new Pod Point 7kW chargepoints in its short stay and priority...

 (photo: Tipi Ltd/The John Lewis Partnership)
Quintain Ltd  - 20.08.2018, 23:36

New Build to Rent Interiors Collections

Quintain's retail homes brand Tipi has partnered with John Lewis to create exclusive interiors collections - the retailer's first for the UK's Build to Rent sector.