Case Studies

Georgetown University Law School

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Improving Capital Project Planning

Client

Georgetown Law, located in Washington, D.C., is one of the top law schools in the country. It also has one of the largest law programs in the U.S., with 2,200 full-time students. The Law Center campus, separate from Georgetown’s main campus, encompasses five buildings, including state-of-the-art classrooms and lecture halls, one of the largest academic law libraries in the nation, faculty offices, a sport and fitness center, and an on-campus residence hall.

Challenge

Georgetown Law’s facilities are relatively new, with the oldest dating to the 1970s, and the newest opened in 2003. With the recent construction of these facilities, much of the organization’s resources had been focused on new building investment rather than maintenance. A recent survey had shown that as the school had focused on new construction, it had started to fall behind in its capital investments. The organization recognized it needed detailed information about what deficiencies existed, how they should be prioritized and how they could be financed. It also needed better planning mechanisms to effectively manage maintenance going forward.

Solution

Recognizing that its facilities team didn’t have the “people power” to conduct facility condition assessments, Georgetown Law engaged VFA to complete facility assessments in a short timeframe so the data could be available as input into the organization’s annual planning cycle. The school also implemented VFA.facility software to provide ongoing management of the condition data as well as decision support tools for capital project planning, prioritization and budgeting.

Results

An accurate picture of facility conditions Georgetown Law now has an up-to-date repository of information about the condition of its facilities. VFA’s initial condition assessments found some problems that the Law Center, due to resource constraints, had not previously identified, such as a retaining wall around a roof-top cooling tower that was in risk of failure.

A more effective method of prioritizing projects With a central system for managing requirement information and developing projects, the school can now more readily prioritize projects and determine their impact on overall portfolio condition.

Accurate project costing Using industry-standard cost data embedded in VFA.facility, the organization can generate accurate initial estimates of project costs prior to going out to bid. The Law Center is also using this capability to estimate the cost of change orders for current projects.

Support for annual investment estimates and funding documentation As its next annual planning cycle begins, Georgetown Law expects to use VFA.facility to determine the specific investment needed to maintain current facility conditions, identify areas where it needs to invest, and develop a capital plan and budget for submission to the university’s finance subcommittee and ultimately its board. For larger projects that require university-issued debt, the software will also be instrumental in facilitating the creation of “toll gate” documents for the financial plan which lay out risk, impact, and planning timeframe.

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