Mixed Results: 31st Annual Official Education Construction Report

As construction spending by school districts reached an all-time high in 2004, colleges reined in their aggressive pace.

Total spending on new, addition and retrofit construction by the nation's school districts and higher-education institutions, while vibrant, pulled back in 2004 from its all-time high the year before. According to American School & University's 31st annual Official Education Construction Report, education institutions put in place $41.3 billion worth of construction in 2004, down from the massive $48.1 billion spent in 2003. Looking ahead, education construction will continue to be strong, with more than $135 billion projected to be spent through 2007.

While overall spending on education construction slowed in 2004, school districts actually posted record totals, putting in place $29.1 billion worth of construction ($28.6 billion in 2003). The record spending was fueled by a focus on modernizing and adding to existing facilities.

Following five years of accelerated spending on construction, colleges and universities seem to have caught up some on their construction backlog as 2004 posted a significant drop in total spending. Slightly more than $12 billion worth of construction was put in place by higher-education institutions last year. New construction made up the bulk of the spending.

Methodology

To arrive at results for the 31st annual Official Education Construction Report, a detailed questionnaire was mailed in October 2004 to chief business officials at the nation's school districts and colleges. Basically, two questions were asked:

  • Did you complete any construction during the past year?
  • Will you complete any construction in the next three years?

Administrators answering “yes” to either question were then asked to provide a variety of details on the amount being spent, the type of construction being done (new, addition or modernization), and the expected completion date. All respondents involved with new and retrofit construction were asked to provide additional information on each project. Further follow-up calls were made to clarify some data. Responses were separated by institution type, region of the country and institution size, and projected across the education universe.

It's in the details

In the following charts, you will find a wealth of data on construction spending by education institutions in 2004, projected spending through 2007, and myriad other breakouts.

TABLE 1: Education construction completed in 2004 ($000s)

 
The National Picture
     
SCHOOL DISTRICTS
  $13,233,732 New
  $5,577,239 Additions
  $10,276,697 Modernizations
  $29,087,668 TOTAL
     
COLLEGES
  $7,422,135 New
  $1,547,398 Additions
  $3,217,103 Modernizations
  $12,186,636 TOTAL
     
ALL EDUCATION
  $20,655,867 New
  $7,124,637 Additions
  $13,493,800 Modernizations
  $41,274,304 TOTAL

Table 1 details the amount and type of construction spending by school districts, colleges and all education institutions in 2004. Although total construction expenditures dipped from an all-time high the year before, spending by school districts reached new heights. The $41.3 billion worth of construction put in place was split evenly between new construction and additions/modernizations.

Spending by school districts accounted for 70 percent of total education construction spending in 2004. K-12 institutions allocated the majority of their dollars (55 percent) to additions and modernizations; colleges put 61 percent of their dollars toward totally new construction.

TABLE 2: Education construction projected to be completed in 2005-2007 ($000s)

 
The National Picture
     
SCHOOL DISTRICTS
  $53,569,468 New
  $16,519,036 Additions
  $23,045,056 Modernizations
  $93,133,560 TOTAL
     
COLLEGES
  $29,059,541 New
  $5,176,292 Additions
  $7,995,941 Modernizations
  $42,231,774 TOTAL
     
ALL EDUCATION
  $82,629,009 New
  $21,695,328 Additions
  $31,040,997 Modernizations
  $135,365,334 TOTAL

Table 2 outlines the amount and type of construction projected to be put in place through 2007, as well as a breakout of data by type of institution and by type of spending. Education institutions will spend more than $135 billion on projects over the next three years. New construction will make up the majority of the spending (61 percent), with both school districts and colleges allocating the bulk of their dollars to totally new facilities.

TABLE 3:  Education construction: Breakouts over the decade ($ Billions)

 
  1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
School Districts $10.417 $10.964 $12.394 $17.095 $16.039 $21.567 $26.777 $24.343 $28.638 $29.088
Colleges $6.717 $7.235 $7.530 $7.330 $13.964 $14.703 $14.732 $16.205 $19.469 $12.186
All Education $17.134 $18.199 $19.924 $24.425 $30.003 $36.270 $41.509 $40.548 $48.107 $41.274
                     
New Construction $7.970 $9.642 $10.471 $12.097 $14.431 $19.139 $20.112 $22.505 $31.596 $20.656
Additions $4.922 $4.002 $4.249 $6.160 $7.043 $4.936 $5.814 $8.014 $6.176 $7.124
Modernizations $4.242 $4.555 $5.204 $6.168 $8.529 $12.195 $15.583 $10.029 $10.335 $13.494

Table 3 charts the past 10 years of education construction by amount, category and type of institution.

TABLE 4: Education construction, 2004: By type of institution ($000)

 
Region Schools Colleges All Education
1 $2,753,937 $520,243 $3,274,180
2 $2,563,302 $1,780,594 $4,343,896
3 $956,016 $1,064,328 $2,020,344
4 $4,298,247 $1,678,451 $5,976,698
5 $6,604,365 $1,653,563 $8,257,928
6 $4,679,154 $1,150,473 $5,829,627
7 $2,293,229 $406,174 $2,699,403
8 $1,771,346 $2,812,391 $4,583,737
9 $3,168,072 $1,120,418 $4,288,490
Nat'l $29,087,668 $12,186,635 $41,274,303

Table 4 highlights regional spending on construction by type of institution. Region 5 (see Key to Regions, p. 30) put in place the most total education construction in 2004 ($8.25 billion), followed by Region 4 ($5.97 billion) and Region 6 ($5.82 billion). When it comes to school construction, Region 5 had the most activity ($6.60 billion); Region 8 was the most active college construction region ($2.81 billion).

TABLE 5: School construction, 2004: By type of construction ($000)

 
  Total dollars spent % of dollars spent
Region New Bldgs Adds/Mods New Bldgs Adds/Mods
1 $959,012 $1,794,925 34.8% 65.2%
2 $634,037 $1,929,265 24.7% 75.3%
3 $536,736 $419,280 56.1% 43.9%
4 $2,959,366 $1,338,881 68.9% 31.1%
5 $855,527 $5,748,838 13.0% 87.0%
6 $3,183,579 $1,495,575 68.0% 32.0%
7 $1,047,795 $1,245,434 45.7% 54.3%
8 $1,520,256 $251,090 85.8% 14.2%
9 $1,537,424 $1,630,648 48.5% 51.5%
Nat'l $13,233,732 $15,853,936 45.5% 54.5%

Table 5 details the type of school construction completed in 2004 by region and type of spending (new buildings, additions and modernizations). Additions and modernizations made up 54.5 percent of all K-12 construction spending, with Regions 5 and 2 allocating the largest portion of their dollars toward it (87 percent and 75 percent, respectively).

TABLE 6: College construction, 2004: By type of construction ($0000)

 
  Total dollars spent % of dollars spent
Region New Bldgs Adds/Mods New Bldgs Adds/Mods
1 $277,345 $242,899 53.3% 46.7%
2 $713,315 $1,067,279 40.1% 59.9%
3 $381,071 $683,257 35.8% 64.2%
4 $1,185,726 $492,724 70.6% 29.4%
5 $815,415 $838,148 49.3% 50.7%
6 $893,083 $257,390 77.6% 22.4%
7 $208,682 $197,492 51.4% 48.6%
8 $2,070,081 $742,311 73.6% 26.4%
9 $877,417 $243,001 78.3% 21.7%
Nat'l $7,422,135 $4,764,501 60.9% 39.1%

Table 6 focuses on the type of college construction completed in 2004 by region and type of spending. New college facilities accounted for 61 percent of the dollars, with six of the nine regions spending more than half of their dollars on new buildings. Regions 6 and 9 put more than three-quarters of their money into totally new buildings.

TABLE 7: Education construction projected to be completed, 2005-2007 ($000)

 
The Regional Picture
Region Schools Colleges Total
1 $10,106,206 $1,613,495 $11,719,701
2 $15,973,709 $3,480,823 $19,454,532
3 $13,322,171 $5,723,913 $19,046,084
4 $12,287,306 $6,182,229 $18,469,535
5 $16,937,133 $7,654,930 $24,592,063
6 $9,909,757 $5,929,387 $15,839,144
7 $2,963,343 $1,389,459 $4,352,802
8 $2,260,941 $4,607,391 $6,868,332
9 $9,372,993 $5,650,147 $15,023,140
Nat'l $93,133,559 $42,231,774 $135,365,333

Table 7 looks at projected spending on construction by region through 2007 by school districts, colleges and universities, and all education. The nation's education institutions expect to complete more than $135 billion worth of construction over the next three years. School districts will account for 69 percent of the spending.

Region 5 will be the most active ($24.5 billion), followed by Regions 2 and 3 ($19.4 billion and $19.0 billion, respectively). For school districts, the most active construction region will be Region 5 ($16.9 billion), followed by Region 2 ($15.9 billion) and Region 3 ($13.3 billion). Region 5 also will be the most active college-construction region through 2007, spending $7.6 billion over this time. Regions 4 and 6 follow with $6.2 billion and $5.9 billion, respectively, in spending.

TABLE 8: How the school construction dollars are projected to be split, 2005-2007

 
Total School Construction ($000)
Region New Adds/Mods % New % Adds/Mods
1 $6,243,005 $3,863,201 61.8% 38.2%
2 $10,214,658 $5,759,051 63.9% 36.1%
3 $7,293,988 $6,028,183 54.8% 45.2%
4 $8,704,805 $3,582,501 70.8% 29.2%
5 $3,011,876 $13,925,257 17.8% 82.2%
6 $7,406,197 $2,503,560 74.7% 25.3%
7 $1,248,001 $1,715,342 42.1% 57.9%
8 $2,136,444 $124,497 94.5% 5.5%
9 $7,310,494 $2,062,499 78.0% 22.0%
Nat'l $53,569,468 $39,564,091 57.5% 42.5%

Table 8 features how the school construction dollars through 2007 will be split. More than half of the dollars will be going toward totally new facilities. All but two regions will be spending more than half of their construction dollars on totally new facilities. The two focusing more on additions and modernizations are Regions 5 and 7, with Region 5 anticipating 82 percent of its dollars going to these areas.

TABLE 9: How the college construction dollars are projected to be split, 2005-2007

 
Total College Construction ($000)
Region New Adds/Mods % New % Adds/Mods
1 $1,069,597 $543,898 66.3% 33.7%
2 $2,007,500 $1,473,323 57.7% 42.3%
3 $3,581,105 $2,142,808 62.6% 37.4%
4 $4,689,057 $1,493,172 75.8% 24.2%
5 $4,174,478 $3,480,452 54.5% 45.5%
6 $4,612,506 $1,316,881 77.8% 22.2%
7 $1,264,140 $125,319 91.0% 9.0%
8 $3,506,084 $1,101,307 76.1% 23.9%
9 $4,155,074 $1,495,073 73.5% 26.5%
Nat'l $29,059,541 $13,172,233 68.8% 31.2%

Table 9 includes how college and university construction dollars will be split over the next three years. About 69 percent of the dollars will be spent on totally new facilities, with every region allocating more than half of its funds to new construction.

TABLE 10: How much does a new school cost? (Median)

 
  Elementary Middle High* All
Cost/Square Foot $137 $118 $120 $124
Cost/Student $16,396 $16,206 $21,785 $17,000
Square Feet/Student 149 159 168 150
Number of Pupils 500 750 1,025 550
Size (sq. ft.) 68,932 120,000 159,000 83,000
Total Cost ($000) $8,600 $15,000 $27,000 $10,500
*Includes supplemental data from AS&U's 2004 Architectural Portfolio.

Table 10 examines a variety of cost and size data for the national median new elementary, middle and high school, as well as all schools.

TABLE 11: Tracking retrofits

When schools and universities renovated facilities in 2004, these were the types of retrofits most often performed (by percentage of projects):

 
  Schools Colleges
ADA Compliance 31% 49%
Carpeting 29% 49%
Electric 44% 65%
Flooring 36% 64%
HVAC 51% 61%
Indoor Air Quality 17% 33%
Lighting 46% 74%
Painting/Interior Trim 46% 75%
Plumbing 47% 52%
Roofing 36% 25%
Security/Life Safety 23% 29%
Technology Infrastructure 20% 44%
Windows/Doors 46% 43%

Table 11 shows the types of retrofits most often performed.

Top 5 most active construction regions, 2004: By institution type

 
SCHOOLS COLLEGES ALL EDUCATION
Region ($000) Region ($000) Region ($000)
5 $6,604,365 8 $2,812,391 5 $8,257,928
6 $4,679,154 2 $1,780,594 4 $5,976,698
4 $4,298,247 4 $1,678,451 6 $5,829,627
9 $3,168,072 5 $1,653,563 8 $4,583,737
1 $2,753,937 6 $1,150,473 2 $4,343,896

 

Key to regions

 
  CT MA ME NH RI VT
Region 1: NJ NY
Region 2: DC DE ME PA VA WV
Region 3: AL AFL GA KY MS NC SC TN
Region 4: IL IN MI MN OH WI
Region 5: AR LA NM OK TX
Region 6: IA KS MO NE
Region 7: AK CO ID MT ND OR SD UT
Region 8: WA WY
Region 9: AZ CA HI NV

The ultimate resource

As the bellwether report documenting education construction activity for the past 31 years, the American School & University survey is regularly referenced by local, state and federal agencies, as well as the nation's leading news organizations. AS&U actually started compiling data on school and university construction in 1950 for the 1949 year. After a decade or so of yearly surveys, data was compiled sporadically until industry demand prompted AS&U to start collecting data annually again. The annual reports resurfaced in 1975 with information on education construction completed in 1974, and data has been collected and published every year since. American School & University is the only authorized source of this education construction information.

Agron is editor-in-chief of AS&U.

TAGS: Construction
Hide comments

Comments

  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Publish