If you think you’re spending more and getting less these days, you’re right — at least for school construction.
School districts spent almost $20.8 billion on new buildings, renovations, and additions last year, an $800 million increase over 2006. But that money resulted in fewer projects because the average square-foot costs increased about 6 percent.
Using numbers gathered by Market Data Retrieval, School Planning & Management magazine recently released its annual school construction report, which looks at both the national picture and trends in 12 regions across the country.
Overall, it found that 63 percent of the $20.8 billion was spent on new construction, 18 percent went for additions to existing structures, and 19 percent was used for renovations and retrofits for older buildings.
The percentage spent on new construction was the highest since 1979 — shortly before the bulk of the baby boomer generation graduated and enrollments dropped. And those buildings still continue to be big, debunking the trend of smaller learning environments.
The analysis shows that the vast majority of money was spent in fast-growing southern and Southwestern states, and the region that includes New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
School construction spending has reached record levels this decade, but don’t expect to see more increases in coming years, though — SPM expects total spending to drop below $20 billion this year, based on data for projects that are underway.
Joetta Sack-Min, Associate Editor