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As a facility manager on a university campus, you face a long list of challenges. You need to look after facilities, assets, and equipment so you can keep the administration, faculty, and students happy. It's a lot to balance. 

But when you implement modern facility management software for campuses, everyone benefits. Assets last longer and cost less money. People can focus on their research and studies. 

And best of all, your life gets a lot less stressful. 

Before looking at ways to improve facility management at universities, it's worth quickly reviewing the challenges. Just like when you're choosing the right medicine, you always start with the symptoms. 

Challenges of facility management at universities 

Unlike the average K-12 school, most universities are basically small towns, which means they come with a lot of the same challenges. On top of that, they also have some all their own. 

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Everything is spread out across multiple facilities 

Berry College in Georgia claims to have the largest campus in America at a full 27,000 acres. But even for the smaller campuses, there're many buildings spread out over a large area. Take Deep Springs College, for example. Even with an annual enrolment of between just 12 to 15 students, the school still runs a fully functioning alfalfa farm and cattle ranch. 

When everything is so far apart, the challenge is finding reliable ways to get the right people to the right places with the right information and tools so they can do the right work. 

There are different types of facilities and assets 

There's also a wide variety of assets and equipment. You have everything from football stadiums to dorms, from cafeterias to research laboratories, from performance halls to libraries. 

And everything is likely from a different time. Some of the buildings might be from back when the university was first founded. Others might be modern marvels of glass and steel. It's not like being in charge of a single building where everything is about the same age. On campus, in the morning you might need to fix the high-tech interactive display in one classroom, while in the afternoon you need to work on a boiler wrapped in asbestos. 

And many of the different types are "repeating assets" 

But for all that variety, the maintenance team also has to deal with a lot of repeating assets. Think of the HVAC units on the roof of a building. How can you tell them apart when they all look the same? What about the desks in a classroom? How would a maintenance tech know which one to fix? Because they all look the same, you always run the risk of the team wasting time trying to figure out what to work on and then "fixing" the wrong thing anyway. 

You face constant pressure to be on time and within budget 

Every facility manager in every industry is under pressure to find new ways to do more with less. It's just part of the job. 

But someone working for a town might have an easier time because their budget is fairly steady from year to year. It's the same with a facility manager in an office. Occupancy rates are likely fairly stable because companies tend to sign longer leases. 

But at a university campus, the annual budget can change a lot from year to year. When the economy takes a downturn, alumni make smaller contributions. And in a year when the administration moves many of the classes online, the number of students willing to pay to live on campus in the dorms falls, squeezing the school's operations budget. 

Benefits of improving facility management at universities 

When you improve facility management at a university, everyone benefits. 

The administration has an easier time balancing the budget. Not only do they know how much things cost now, but they can also better plan for future investments in infrastructure and assets. Building that new football stadium is a multi-year project, and the last thing the school needs is for unexpected repairs, for example with the boiler in the dorms, blowing a giant hole in their plans. 

The professors can focus on what's important to them: research and classes. The last thing they want to deal with is the power going out over the weekend, killing the refrigeration units in the lab and destroying their experiments. They also don't have to worry about little, annoying issues, like the AC in the classroom dying in the middle of summer. 

And the students get to enjoy their new-found responsibilities and freedom. If they want to study, they shouldn't have to worry about the lights not working in the library. And if they don't want to study, the shouldn't have to worry about the ice machine dying at the campus pub.   

Facility management software that makes it all possible 

So, those are the challenges of facility management on a campus as well as a list of the benefits of improving your workflows. 

So, the question now is "How does the right software solution help deliver those benefits?" 

First, modern facility management software for campuses helps you move your data from error-prone paper and spreadsheets to a central database in the cloud, where everything is always up to date and accessible from anywhere, at any time. 

Hippo Site Map Floor Plan-1

Now, instead of waiting for maintenance techs to drop by your office or running around trying to track them down, you can reach them no matter where they are on campus. You can generate, prioritize, assign, and track work orders all from inside the same platform. Techs can access work orders that come packed with everything they need to work efficiently and close out quickly, including: 

  • Comprehensive asset maintenance and repair histories 
  • Associated parts and materials 
  • Step-by-step instructions 
  • Customizable checklists 
  • Digital images, manuals, and warranties 

Techs can even access interactive site maps and floor plans, ensuring they get exactly where you need them, fast. 

Quick summary 

Facility management on campus comes with a lot of the same challenges of a small town. Assets and equipment are spread out over a large area, making it a challenge to get the right people where you need them. By improving facility management, everyone benefits. The administration saves money and can better plan their budgets. Professors and students can pursue their goals, including research and education. And facility managers get to deliver the most value possible but with a lot less stress. Modern facility management software for education makes this all possible by helping you move everything to the cloud, where data is safe, secure, and accessible.    

Next steps 

Ready to improve facility management at your university?

Hippo's here to help you get the solution that works best for you, including answering your questions about facility maintenance software, helping you book a live software demo, or even setting you up with a free trial.   

About The Author

Jonathan Davis

Jonathan has been covering asset management, maintenance software, and SaaS solutions since joining Hippo CMMS. Prior to that, he wrote for textbooks and video games.
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