Deferred Maintenance Gap Widens in K-12 Facilities

Inflation rates among contributors to rising costs and budget shortfalls.   March 30, 2023

By Dave Lubach, Managing Editor

Deferred maintenance has long been a nemesis for facility managers in K-12 schools. A recent report confirmed just how dramatic the gap remains. 

Building intelligence provider Gordian recently published its 10th edition of the State of Facilities in Higher Education report, which revealed a growing gap in deferred maintenance while also showing an increasing shortfall in the cyclical replacement or refurbishing of assets at the end of their useful lives. 

Some key takeaways from the report include: 

  • Deferred maintenance costs increased from $105 per gross square foot (GSF) in 2020 to $133/GSF in 2022, a 27 percent increase. 
  • Capital renewal funding for existing space has returned to $4.34/GSF and represents a 10 percent increase in funding since 2021, but inflation pushed money necessary to improve existing spaces to $6.76/GSF. That represents a 36 percent annual stewardship shortfall. 
  • Operating costs are funded at only 80 percent of target budgets, a number that is straining the workforce to care for properties. 

Gordian compiled the report by evaluating more than 52,000 higher education facilities that represent 325 North American campuses. The facilities represent 3.5 million students (about twice the population of Nebraska) and 1.5 billion total square feet of campus space.  

Dave Lubach is managing editor of the facilities market. 


Read next on FacilitiesNet