38th Annual Maintenance & Operations Cost Study for Colleges

38th Annual Maintenance & Operations Cost Study for Colleges

Results from AS&U's 38th Annual Maintenance & Operations Cost Study for Colleges

The nation's colleges are feeling the pinch of the economic downturn, and maintenance and operations (M&O) budgets especially are under pressure.

According to American School & University's 38th annual Maintenance & Operations Cost Study, the median college allocates 10 percent of its total budget to M&O, down from 11 percent the year before. While lower energy costs helped colleges' bottom lines, rising payroll and benefits costs strained budgets.

Like school districts, custodial and maintenance staff are being required to do more. The amount of square feet maintained per full-time custodian increased by 16 percent; the amount of square feet maintained per full-time maintenance worker increased by 13 percent.

The following pages include data from the latest M&O Cost Study that can help you in benchmarking expenditures at your institution. Data provided only targets two-year and four-year colleges with no significant graduate programs. This is done to provide more useful comparative data. Larger four-year universities with significant graduate programs are not surveyed because their costs and activities are so varied that results would be less useful.

In addition, data provided reflect actual spending by colleges on M&O and are not intended to be "ideal" amounts. Numerous factors — such as age and overall condition of buildings, the labor market in your area, climate, etc. — will affect your costs when compared with the national medians.

For those looking for additional data, select the links below the Web Exclusive icon that will direct you to exclusive data not found in the print version on M&O expenditures and operations at our nation's colleges.

Methodology

Data for the annual American School & University M&O Cost Study were collected via an in-depth questionnaire mailed in January 2009 to physical plant directors at two-year and four-year colleges with no significant graduate programs. Recipients were asked to document various M&O costs for the 2008-09 school year. The tables and charts detail median M&O expenditures per full-time-equivalent (FTE) student and per square foot, as well as the incidence of various maintenance practices.

Among the titles included:

  • Administrative: Those individuals who have managerial or supervisory duties (does not include the overall director of physical plant).

  • Custodial: Those individuals responsible for building upkeep and cleaning.

  • Maintenance: Those individuals who perform skilled jobs, such as plumbing, electrical or HVAC repair.

  • Grounds: Those individuals responsible for landscape maintenance and upkeep.

  • Secretarial. Those individuals providing clerical support.

 

Type of institution

(of survey respondents)

 

Number of buildings at institution

1 to 4 buildings 8%
5 to 10 buildings 21%
11 to 15 buildings 13%
16 to 25 buildings 8%
26 to 40 buildings 15%
More than 40 buildings 26%
*"No answer" represents the remaining percentage to equal 100%.

Maintenance & Operations Costs (Expressed in median dollars per FTE student)

Salaries $567.51
Benefits (based on full-time only) $170.25
Total Energy/Utilities $451.33
Gas/Electricity/Other Fuels $400.00
Utilities $51.33
Total Equipment & Supplies $54.33
Custodial/Maint. Equip. & Supplies $40.33
Grounds Equip. & Supplies $14.00
Vehicle Maintenance $10.33
Other $50.00
Total M&O Budget* $1,303.75
% M&O of Total College Budget 10.0%
*Calculated from subtotals.

Maintenance & Operations Costs (Expressed in median dollars per square foot)

Salaries $2.39
Benefits (based on full-time only) $0.72
Total Energy/Utilities $1.90
Gas/Electricity/Other Fuels $1.68
Utilities $0.22
Total Equipment & Supplies $0.23
Custodial/Maint. Equip. & Supplies $0.17
Grounds Equip. & Supplies $0.06
Vehicle Maintenance $0.04
Other $0.21
Total M&O Budget* $5.49
*Calculated from subtotals.

 

Total grounds acreage maintained

(by survey respondents)

Less than 40 acres 28%
40 to 80 acres 3%
80.1 to 110 acres 5%
110.1 to 200 acres 18%
More than 200 acres 28%
*"No answer" represents the remaining percentage to equal 100%.

 

Total gross area maintained of all buildings

(including corridors and other common and office areas)

by responding institutions

Less than 150,000 sq. ft. 13%
150,000 to 299,999 sq. ft. 5%
300,000 to 449,999 sq. ft. 5%
450,000 to 599,999 sq. ft. 10%
600,000 to 749,999 sq. ft. 0%
750,000 to 999,999 sq. ft. 13%
1 million sq. ft. or more 23%
*"No answer" represents the remaining percentage to equal 100%.

 

FTE enrollment

(of responding institutions)

Less than 600 students 13%
600 to 999 students 15%
1,000 to 1,999 students 10%
2,000 to 2,999 students 5%
3,000 to 4,999 students 23%
5,000 to 9,999 students 16%
10,000 students or more 10%
*"No answer" represents the remaining percentage to equal 100%.

 

Privatizing M&O

13%
The percentage of colleges contracting out maintenance and operations services

 

Green Cleaning in Colleges

56%
The percentage of colleges with a green cleaning program

50%
The percentage of colleges (of those that don't have a program) that plan to add a green cleaning program in the near future

 

Maintenance & Operations Budget

(of survey respondents)

$1 million or less 13%
$1 million to $2 million 5%
$2,000,001 to $3 million 10%
$3,000,001 to $5 million 15%
More than $5 million 21%
*"No answer" represents the remaining percentage to equal 100%.

 

How the M&O budget is split

(median dollars per FTE student)

 

Median amount of square feet and acreage maintained

Sq. ft. of bldg. maintained per student 238
Sq. ft. maintained per custodial employee 39,647
Sq. ft. maintained per maintenance employee 79,293
Acres maintained per grounds employee 39
Total reported M&O Budget $3.55 million

M&O expenditures over the past 10 years

 

M&O salaries and number of employees

 

Administrative $68,333 4
Custodial/Housekeeping $27,200 18
Grounds $35,250 4
Maintenance $37,200 9
Secretarial/Clerical $36,000 2

 

Median square footage of building maintained per FTE student

More Colleges M&O data

 

4,136
Mean FTE enrollment of survey respondents.

$6.3 million
Mean total M&O expenditure of responding colleges.

39,647
Amount of square feet maintained per custodian.

79,293
Amount of square feet maintained per maintenance worker.

238
Amount of square feet of building maintained per student.

$1.6 million
Mean amount spent annually on energy (gas, electricity and other fuels) by responding colleges.

21
Median number of motor vehicles.

Agron is editor-in-chief of AS&U. Research conducted by Elinor Rice, senior research manager, Penton Media.

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