School district administrators face a unique challenge in that they have to manage the maintenance and repair needs of several buildings at one time. As school buildings age and infrastructure begins to break down, the mounting repair projects can grow exponentially, putting huge strain on the resources and abilities of administrators and maintenance teams.
Trying to stay on top of the more pressing repair concerns across several facilities can often result in smaller, preventive tasks slipping through the cracks. While this ongoing pattern of deferred maintenance can create headaches for school districts down the road, there are steps to take that can alleviate some of the challenge of balancing all the spinning plates, and administrators should seriously consider a facility management solution.
One of the major benefits of a facilities management software package is the ability to centrally collect and store pertinent data on all schools within a district in one location. This makes it much easier to view the district and the resources allotted to it that must be spread out as a whole picture rather than as a series of individual buildings, and can help you to identify maintenance trends as they appear.
This type of data centralization can make it easier to prioritize repair projects, and is instrumental in determining budgetary allocation on a year-to-year basis.
Assessing repair budgets
The holy grail of school maintenance management is preventive maintenance. Unfortunately, a report published by SchoolDude pointed out that PM is quickly falling out of prominence, seen by many districts as a bonus rather than a necessity for properly functioning buildings. However, such a strategy can prove shortsighted, as short-term savings quickly compound into longer-term and larger expenditures when things break down and need to be replaced.
Not only can this spell trouble for facilities teams come repair time, it can also create additional facility setbacks by eating into the capital planning budget. More costly repairs require more money, which takes away from what can be saved for future upgrades.
An integrated and centralized facilities management solution can be a budget-planning aid that makes it easier to track the spend of maintenance dollars across the district. As SchoolDude reminded, saving $1 by deferring maintenance will end up costing $4 in repairs and replacements down the road, so it's important to assess budgetary spending in terms of future maintenance needs as well as current pressing projects.