School systems spending millions on construction annually - November 2005

School systems in the United States are not only in the business of education, they are also in the construction business, according to the results of a new survey conducted by FMI Corp. in conjunction with the Council for Education Facilities Planners International. According to the FMI K-12 School Construction Management Survey Report, the magnitude of school construction and renovation and modernization

School systems in the United States are not only in the business of education,

they are also in the construction business, according to the results of a new survey conducted by FMI Corp.

in conjunction with the Council for Education Facilities Planners International.

According to the FMI K-12 School Construction Management Survey Report, the

magnitude of school construction and renovation and modernization projects in the nation's largest school

systems indicates that school systems need to think and act more like the largest owners in the nation.

Facing problems such as rapid growth in enrollment, overcrowded schools and

poorly maintained, aging classroom buildings, school systems have been engaged in a rapid increase in

construction that started in the mid-1990s and is projected to continue through the next decade. The median

annual expenditure for the school systems represented by the survey is $14 million for new construction and

$7 million for school modernization and renovation; 37% of the school systems surveyed, however, budget more

than $20 million per year for new construction, and 24% report more than $20 million spent for

renovation/modernization programs annually.

Despite the rapidly rising need for construction and modernization, school

facility directors and managers responding to the survey say that only 34% of school systems have sufficient

budgets for construction and renovation needs; 20% do not require a master plan for school construction

needs, and only 23% say their planning process is excellent.

"The results of this survey indicate that few school systems are organized

and staffed to take on the challenges of large construction programs," said Mark Bridgers, senior

consultant with FMI. "Without sufficient master planning, the ability to examine alternative delivery

methods and provide sufficient staffing for construction oversight, school systems are running into problems

like inefficient use of their limited building funds."

The survey concludes that school construction is an important factor in the

primary mission of schools, which is to educate students, and the school construction program should be

viewed as an important aspect in accomplishing that mission.

To receive a copy of the FMI K-12 School Construction Management Survey Report,

contact Phil Warner at [email protected] or 919/785-9357.

FMI provides management consulting and investment banking services to the construction industry.