Construction spending by education institutions topped $36 billion in 2006. While strong by historical standards, it represents the third consecutive year that total spending on construction dropped from the year before.
According to American School & University's 33rd annual Official Education Construction Report, total spending on new, addition and retrofit construction by America's school districts and higher-education institutions slowed to $36.6 billion in 2006 from $37.5 billion the year before. While the need for construction continues to be strong, many institutions delayed, reduced in scope, or postponed construction activity because of rapidly rising costs and unforeseen market conditions.
Much of the drop in 2006 can be attributed to higher education, as construction spending by colleges and universities dipped to $11.3 billion from $14.5 billion the year before. School districts increased spending on construction to $25.3 billion in 2006, compared with $23 billion put in place in 2005.
What follows is the authoritative source for education construction data, detailing spending by type of institution; projected spending through 2009; regional spending; per-square-foot and per-student costs; and much more — providing you with benchmark information as you plan future projects.
To arrive at results for the 33rd annual Official Education Construction Report, a detailed questionnaire was sent to chief business officials at the nation's school districts and colleges, asking about construction completed during the past year and construction planned to be completed in the next three years.
Administrators answering “yes” to either question then were 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 correspondence was made to clarify some data. Responses were separated by institution type, region of the country and institution size, and projected across the education universe.
Education construction completed in 2006 ($000s)
Education construction projected to be completed in 2007-2009 ($000s)
Education construction: A decade of data
Education construction, 2006: By type of institution ($000)
School construction, 2006: By type of construction ($000)
College construction, 2006: By type of construction ($000)
Education construction projected to be completed, 2007-2009
How the school construction dollars are projected to be split, 2007-2009
How the college construction dollars are projected to be split, 2007-2009
New school costs (Median)
Mean number of students at responding school districts.
Percentage of school districts completing some form of construction project in 2006.
Percentage of school districts planning a construction project to be completed by 2009.
Amount, in $millions, the median new school district construction project completed by 2009 is expected to cost.
Mean number of FTE students at responding colleges and universities.
Percentage of colleges and universities completing some form of construction project in 2006.
Percentage of colleges and universities planning a construction project to be completed by 2009.
Amount, in millions, the median new college and university construction project completed by 2009 is expected to cost.
The ultimate resource
As the bellwether report documenting education construction activity for the past 33 years, the American School & University Official Education Construction Report 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 began being 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.