Enrolling new students and retaining current ones is one of the primary goals of every university across the nation – attracting students who will learn and grow to be prepared for the real world after college. The types of on-campus facilities provided are a key component of this goal. This is especially true for rural universities that lack a “big city” environment and activities. Rural universities become the entertainment and activity hub for their students, so providing and maintaining adequate facilities and amenities is a critical component of campus life. From enhancing student recreation activities to providing new state-of-the-art facilities, breathing new life into the facilities on campus is key to attracting and retaining students.
One of the first steps to keeping your university campus in prime condition is to routinely evaluate all campus buildings. Once you’ve determined that a building requires a renovation or that a new facility is needed, the next step is to hire a reliable construction manager. To ensure the success of your project, begin your search by looking for a firm that is experienced with the type of work being completed and one who will partner with you to achieve your project’s goals.
So how do you find that? Below are five questions to ask when hiring a construction manager to complete projects at your university.
Do their capabilities match the project? Be sure they can show examples of previous projects they have completed that are similar to your project. If your university is in a rural area, check that they are familiar with the labor challenges that come with managing construction projects in remote locations.
Are they familiar with Title 61 requirements? Title 61 is a detailed roadmap of the procedures that the construction manager must follow to be compliant with the law. If the construction manager is not familiar with this process, the construction schedule may be delayed.
Have they worked on a college campus before? Extra safety precautions are essential on an active campus, especially if the building under construction will remain partially occupied or in use. Additionally, logistics must be considered. How will students navigate around the construction to go to classes and other activities? Does the construction manager have a plan to minimize the impact on students and faculty during construction?
Do they understand the needs of the end user? The construction manager should understand how the building will be used and by whom. Is the facility intended for student housing or will it be used for administrative purposes? Knowing this will allow the construction manager to make more informed decisions to ensure the project meets the needs of those who will interact with it daily.
Do they mesh well with you and your team? At the end of the day, you have to work with the construction manager you select, so it is important to make sure they are someone you feel like you can trust and communicate with. Finding a firm that works with you to help you achieve your goals is essential.
Navigating methods of attracting new students and retaining existing students is a full-time job - managing construction projects on campus shouldn’t be. Keep the above questions in mind to find a construction manager who cares about your goals as much as you do, who will partner with you to improve your campus facilities, and who will join you in the pride you have for your university by enhancing the university experience for your student, ensuring your campus facilities serve the university well and contribute to the overall success of your students.