Report: Underground Utilities Ignored by Higher Ed. Institutions

  • UndergroundGIS

At UndergroundGIS, our mission is to change the “out of sight, out of mind” philosophy that property owners and facility managers often adhere to when it comes to their utility infrastructure. One of the many sectors we are targeting is the deteriorating infrastructure of the country’s college campuses and their underground utilities.

And it seems that we are not alone in our goal to sound the alarm.

In a recent article – “Out of Sight, Not Out of Mind” – published in the June 2017 issue of College Planning & Management and on its website – writers Glenn H. Teller and Jeff Nelson stress the importance of being proactive about managing and maintaining the aging infrastructure on campuses across the country:

When identifying capital and maintenance projects, underground infrastructure isn’t always a top priority. However, assessing and prioritizing infrastructure maintenance and repair is critical for colleges and universities. If aging infrastructure isn’t addressed it can lead to significant safety and financial headaches down the road when a pipe bursts or IT line fails, creating an emergency situation.

It’s no secret that routine maintenance is more cost-effective than emergency response, but it is still a challenge to convince campus facility managers to invest in proactive (rather than reactive) solutions, especially when they are often working with bare-bones budgets and a long list of needs.

UndergroundGIS has implemented our SaaS-based InSite Virtual Campus platform on nearly 15% of California’s 160+ community college campuses and education centers. And those who made the decision to implement InSite can’t imagine how they managed before. “In my 40 years working in facilities management I have never seen anything that offers so many efficiencies when it comes to understanding, locating, and managing underground infrastructure,” said Bob Thompson, former facilities director at College of Marin, after working with InSite (Note: Bob is now retired). “I now can have all of my records available at the click of a mouse and I can locate my utility systems quickly and easily using GPS.”

In their article, Teller and Nelson offer three “steps to success” when it comes to addressing infrastructure maintenance and repair:

  1. Map Your Campus: “The first step is about understanding what utilities and underground infrastructure are on your campus … Utility mapping technology can deliver an accurate understanding of all utilities on a campus.”
  2. Assess Your Needs: “Any infrastructure upgrades that address regulatory compliance should be prioritized. Then, using a solid mapping platform or GIS database, facilities officials can develop a well-informed list of projects.” And as bonus, “by saving the valuable information collected, a college or university is less reliant on institutional memory.”
  3. Develop a Maintenance Program: “As the specific infrastructure maintenance and repair needs are identified and ranked, the most successful colleges then develop a program to allocate funds to tackle infrastructure improvements in chunks over time. This approach ensures greater efficiency and is more realistic given the limited funds available.”

Fortunately, UndergroundGIS clients using InSite Virtual Campus have all three of these steps covered and are well on their way to efficiently managing their facility utility infrastructure needs.

For more information or to schedule a demonstration of InSite Virtual campus, call 855.991.9911 or click here to contact us today!

About the Author:

BetterGIS and its UVARA Cloud Platform make utilities “visible” and easy to manage resulting in simplifying clients’ lives, making them more productive, and saving them hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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