Higher education learning facilities are in high demand which means more opportunities for work within this sector. Both these facilities and contractors can benefit from these opportunities, which seem to be more and more available each day.

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The recession of 2008-2009 increased the demand of higher education in the nation’s numerous community colleges for further career training. One of the highest points of appeal of these education facilities is affordability, meaning tuition is not a big source of income for these institutions. Federal funding has also been cut back significantly, dwindling the resources that facility managers have to maintain these high-traffic buildings.

One of the biggest challenges facility managers face is the age of the buildings, some 40 or 50 years old. This increases the need for renovation and repairs, as well as day to day care.

This is where numerous trades come in, including commercial painting contractors. Capital planners and facilities directors are managing to secure funding for their maintenance needs, but they also rely on finding contractors who will work within their budget.

While some buildings have maintenance needs that are manageable on a case-by-case basis, others have such damage and are too old for that process. Which is why some colleges have chosen to rebuild altogether, designing new, more efficient structures that decrease the amount of constant upkeep that they currently require.

These institutions are also finding new ways of obtaining funding, such as federal tax refund programs. Another tactic which has worked out is forging relationships with other local institutions, where the community college will grant access to the new facilities in exchange for maintenance fee coverage.

Yet another solution they are opting for is splitting the costs with other types of institutions, such as local YMCA’s and other non-profits. The end result is a facility that is shared amongst all the contributors. These deals can be complicated and drawn-out, but if contractors are willing to be flexible in their timing and pricing, the deal may be a win-win for everyone involved.

Last, once the physical renovations are done, these facilities tend to undertake total renovations of their processes as well. This means they improve their workflow and sometimes end up hiring new services that will optimize their day-to-day maintenance.

They are also implementing new building design that would potentially concentrate all activities within one or two buildings, rather than having numerous activities and departments scattered around campus. This move would require the potential hiring of many types of contractors, for instance a waterproofing company.

Flexible spaces with time and space-space saving tools are being implemented as well, which opens up new needs that need to be met, contract-wise.

What steps has your facility taken in order to meet its own specific and unique needs?