Academic Trends & Opportunities - Here's What Our Clients are Saying

July 14, 2020
Academic Trends & Opportunities - Here's What Our Clients are Saying

Here’s what our clients are saying...

COVID-19 Space Considerations

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on educational facilities, administrators, educators, and students has been immense and widespread. COVID-19 has altered priorities and brought known and unknown challenges:

  • Social distancing affects space needs for residence halls, dining, fitness, athletic spaces, labs, lecture halls, and performance/exhibit spaces. 
  • De-densification of classrooms limits occupancy resulting in significant space needs or behavioral changes. A 48-student classroom may now only accommodate 12 students! Some are adapting performance space to serve as academic space. Others are creating rotating schedules and hybrid models. 
  • Unknown admission metrics and lower density requirements may impact housing demand. Some have considered converting hotels or other facilities to housing. Others are using modular units or modifying their school calendar to share facilities over time. 

Trending Project Types

Priorities for capital projects are shifting:

  • Life-safety challenges such as fire alarm upgrades, structural issues, and electrical problems are “must-do’s”
  • Critical deferred maintenance impacting usability of facilities: leaking roofs, failing masonry, inoperable HVAC systems are high priority 
  • Mission-critical program projects including labs, research space and other focused learning programs are moving forward to maintain a competitive edge and support social change

In all cases, projects in process are being completed with new safety protocols and remote communications.

An Opportunity to Add Value

We all know about Zoom, PPE and temperature screening at construction sites. The design and construction industry has proven its ability to adapt quickly during this pandemic. But some clients, builders, and architects are taking it a step further, seeing an opportunity to seize on technology and innovation to make sites safer, enhance communication, and gather data for project success. Following are a few tools we’ve been leveraging to add value for our clients:

  • 360 Site Cameras, Laser Scanning, and Drones These tools are helping limit exposure on site, gain time efficiencies and share vital information with remote team members enabling clients to make timely decisions which support their budget and schedule goals.
  • Tapple generates a check-in questionnaire to record the health of everyone on site, virtually eliminating the time-consuming sign-in process and paper health questionnaire. Columbia also has adapted this unique application to manage manpower, generate reports, and keep clients informed.