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OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol

Higher Education Facility Construction Costs Are Reasonable; Some Improvements Could Maximize Use of Campus Classroom Space

Report 06-31, March 2006

Report Summary

  • Both the university and community college systems are building reasonably cost-effective facilities compared to national norms. However, these costs continue to rise while Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO) funding, the primary state source of higher education funding, is predicted to decline after 2006-07. Postsecondary institutions will need to develop long-term strategies to reduce construction costs, which should include adopting prototypical designs, implementing energy cost sharing, and maximizing existing facility use.
  • In general, the allocation of university and community college space is consistent with available national benchmarks and institutional missions. Although a relatively small percentage of all space is used for classrooms, this allocation is consistent with national norms and institutional differences reflect the student populations served.
  • Classrooms at some state universities and community colleges are underutilized. Overall, only about half of all university classrooms and less than half of community college classrooms have classes scheduled in them throughout the week (Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 8 PM). Classroom usage rates vary considerably by time of day, day of week, and institution. Although some factors affecting underutilization may be outside the control of institutions, they can take steps to improve classroom utilization and delay the need to build additional classrooms.

Related Reports
  1. Review of the Capital Outlay Facilities Space of Florida's State University System
    Report 20-SUSFACI February 2020
  2. Review of the Capital Outlay Facilities Space of Florida's College System
    Report 20-FCSFACI June 2020
  3. The State Requirements for Educational Facilities (SREF) Should Be Retained; Some Modifications Could Be Made
    Report 17-04 January 2017
  4. More State Direction Could Increase the Utilization of Higher Education Classrooms
    Report 09-25 April 2009
Copies of this report in print or alternate accessible format may be obtained by email OPPAGA@oppaga.fl.gov, telephone (850) 488-0021, or mail 111 W. Madison St., Room 312 Tallahassee, FL 32399-1475.
education, school districts, employment projections, Community College Facilities; SUS Facilities; Postsecondary Facilities Planning; Postsecondary Facilities Utilization; Postsecondary Facilities Construction; Higher Education Space Allocation; Construction Costs; Fixed Capital Outlay Budget; PECO Funding, estimating conference, skill sets, training programs, workforce, labor pool, job vacancy, employer survey, unemployment insurance, economic development, degree production, wage rates, job openings, job growth, high skill, high wage, high demand, targeted occupation, incentive funding, career counseling, staffing patterns, best financial management practice, performance reviews, schools, school districts, academic freedom, student grievances, faculty grievances, community colleges, college, university, school, grades