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Colleges and universities face an “unsustainable” shortfall in deferred capital renewal, according to the 10th State of Facilities in Higher Education report from Gordian, a Building Intelligence Solutions provider.

While preliminary data from fiscal 2022 show a 10 percent year-over-year capital investment increase, inflation has greatly expanded the amount of funding necessary to steward existing space, creating a 36 percent shortfall.

The report also finds that deferred asset renewal costs have increased from $105 per gross square foot in 2020 to $133/GSF this year, which represents at 27 percent increase. It notes that campus operating costs are funded at an average of 80 percent of target budgets, “straining the workforce to care for properties and programs.”

The report includes data from more than 52,000 higher ed facilities on 325 campuses in North America; approximately 40 percent of the institutions are private and 60 percent are public. Collectively they enroll 3.5 million students on 1.5 billion square feet of campus space.

To avoid future operational or building failures, proactive leadership is required, the report warns.

“Ultimately, we observe that stewardship demands are now so acute, facilities issues can no longer be reactive,” said Pete Zuraw, vice president of market strategy and development for Gordian. “Every facilities, planning and business leader will need to be a key participant in institutional decision-making going forward.”