By Paul Viccica, AIA
All college and university presidents wish to leave a positive, noticeable mark on their institutions and ensure that they boast cutting-edge facilities that help attract the best students and faculty. For many, cutting-edge means new. Over the past few decades, it is no secret that colleges and universities have engaged in a kind of facilities arms race to build new, state-of-the-art dormitories, dining halls, classrooms, athletic complexes and fine arts centers. Higher educational institutions face enormous competitive pressures to build buildings which rival their peer institutions. These pressures have not abated and may well intensify as colleges compete for a shrinking pool of students in the years to come. But more and more colleges lack the financial resources to continue to participate in this competitive drive to build brand new buildings as endowments have shrunk and donations to fund capital projects have dramatically slowed due to the economic downturn.