November 2022
The Center for Green Schools at USGBC has just published findings about how school districts are responding to the Covid-19 pandemic, specifically as it relates to investing federal relief funds to manage air quality and upgrade facilities. The unprecedented American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III) funds have served as a lifeline offering K–12 school systems a chance to address a critical backlog of deferred maintenance, needed equipment and infrastructure repairs, as well as upgrades to outdated building systems to improve health, air quality and comfort.

The report looks at how school districts across the country plan to invest that federal aid, with a focus on planned funding for large-scale facilities related work. Major findings include:

  • Although staff capacity, inflation and supply chain shortages are affecting infrastructure projects, school districts have prioritized significant ESSER III funding to support indoor air quality for their students and staff. Of all the funding categories tracked in the data set, air filtration/HVAC was the second highest category for district planned spending, at $5.5 billion, just behind staffing/teachers/academic interventionists/guidance counselors.

  • Of the 2,379 school districts that planned to spend any of the ESSER III funding on facilities, large districts planned to spend the lowest percentage (on average, 22%) and small districts planned to spend the highest percentage of their total allocation (on average, 30%).

Every public sector building is unique and requires a strategic facilities management program to ensure it can meet its mission and its users’ needs. Amidst competing priorities, pressure to work within budget constraints, and lack of access to qualified labor, government agencies across the board — from federal to state and local/ municipal agencies — grapple with the challenge of runaway deferred maintenance

Whether extensive deferred maintenance results from budget cuts, disruption due to the pandemic, or lack of resources, the time is now to handle deferred maintenance and put in place a strategic facilities management program tailored to the unique needs of the government.

Getting a handle on years of deferred maintenance can seem like a daunting task. From knowing where to begin, prioritizing a seemingly unending list of tasks, and understanding the financial investment required, facilities teams may feel ill-equipped to tackle a list of long overdue maintenance tasks.

Learn the 5-step approach to address deferred maintenance, reduce the backlog, mitigate risk and address major facility problems.
It’s hard to believe that just three years ago the Covid-19 pandemic wasn’t something that existed. The school year started out normally as it could. Regular maintenance was scheduled, drills were conducted but then March of 2020 approached, a new virus was making its way through the nation and the only way the spread could be stopped was if everything closed, including schools.

Educational facilities managers were sent into overdrive trying to navigate the closure. What started as a two-week break turned into several months at home, and it was up to facilities managers to ensure buildings stayed intact.

Managers from across the country looked toward New York City Schools as an example of what to do with their facilities, and no one took that responsibility more seriously than John T. Shea, CEO, The New York City Department of Education.

Money is tight – and facilities teams are especially feeling the pinch. Higher education operating budgets have plummeted 9 percent since 2019. Facilities investment shortfall to anticipated demands is approaching 40 percent, meaning facilities departments are left with only about 60 percent of the funds required.

If you want a bigger piece of a smaller budget pie, you’d better come with receipts. A spreadsheet of numbers based on iffy data and guesswork isn’t going to convince your campus finance gurus to hand over more dough. Getting the budget requires:

  • Accurate facilities data specific to your campus;
  • Clear priorities of what costs must be kept and which can be cut (and the ramifications); and
  • A professional, persuasive and easy-to-understand presentation to the decision makers.

Explore with AkitaBox how to build and present a data-driven facilities budget that’ll increase your chances of getting the funding you request.

In support of the Biden-Harris Administration's efforts to tackle climate change and the President’s Federal Sustainability Plan requiring the federal fleet transition to zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced a contract award for the purchase of 140 solar-powered electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at 34 sites around the country. VA is leaning in on the acquisition of ZEVs and taking this innovative step to support those electric vehicles with the purchase of solar electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE).

The 140 solar-powered EVSE stations maximize VA’s charging flexibility because they are mobile, rely on carbon-free electricity for the vehicles, and are independent of the grid. Each EVSE station is equipped with four charging ports that will support VA’s growing fleet of zero-emission vehicles, helping to make VA’s fleet more sustainable and able to serve veterans effectively into the future.

The perfect balance between public and private spaces, WiggleRoom Super Structure is designed for individuals to have the option to meet, collaborate or work privately. This new, scalable post-and-beam system makes it simple to develop multisize freestanding spaces within interior architecture without compromising the existing environment.

WiggleRoom Super Structure installs faster and easier than drywall and with far less waste saving you valuable time, money, and environmental resources. Complete with self-closing glass doors, powered walls, and a variety of open or enclosed spaces, this freestanding system allows for virtually unlimited design freedom. 
Discover how you can achieve design flexibility that will propel your space into the future with WiggleRoom Super Structure.
Fast reads . . .
The Goodway RAM-5 tube cleaner is one of the most popular tubes' cleaners worldwide. It features an all-new look, better portability, and intuitive controls to help speed through cleaning large tube bundles. The secret is that the Speed Feed system automatically “shoots” the rotating shaft down the tube, cleaning up to 4X faster than traditional tube cleaners.

Plus, RAM-5 includes a “dial-in” meter to match the shaft rotation to better match the rifling on enhanced tubes, leading to better contact and cleaning. Brushes are available to clean any deposit and add quick-connect fittings, and you have one of the fastest tube cleaning systems.

When BridgePrep Academy Charter Schools reopened for in-person learning at the beginning of the 2021-22 school year, school administrators wanted to reassure students, teachers and staff that they were returning to a safe, healthy indoor environment where they would be protected from the spread of Covid-19 and other airborne illnesses. During the summer break, the schools' management firm used federal relief funds to replace faulty air-conditioning units and install Armstrong VidaShield UV24 air purification systems in ceilings throughout the schools.

The VidaShield units include shielded ultraviolet light and filtration which neutralizes 97 percent of bacteria, viruses, and allergens in the air. The 2’ x 4’ systems, which are paired unobtrusively with Armstrong School Zone Fine-Fissured ceiling panels, operate to draw air into a concealed chamber above the ceiling, treat it with patented, scientifically proven UV-C air-cleaning technology, and recirculate clean air back into the room.

National Cooperative Purchasing Alliance (NCPA) members can now purchase Via Seating’s extensive offering of indoor seating and outdoor landscape furniture through the NCPA contract #07-128. NCPA is a national government purchasing cooperative working to reduce the cost of goods and services by leveraging the purchasing power of public agencies in all 50 states. Over 90,000 public and nonprofit agencies are eligible to utilize NCPS’s cooperative purchasing contracts.

Via Seating manufactures and distributes contract seating solutions specifically designed for North American customers. Its portfolio of products covers task, conference, lounge/collaborative, multi-use, executive and outdoor seating.

A worldwide provider of sustainable and innovative flooring solutions, Tarkett North America relaunches its popular Johnsonite brand of resilient flooring, wall base, stairwell management systems and finishing accessories.

Throughout much of its history and since becoming part of the Tarkett family in 2005, Johnsonite has delivered a broad portfolio of high-performance, resilient flooring surfaces and accessories. With practical solutions and healthier materials that support every stage of the project — from specification, to installation, to maintenance — Johnsonite is able to deliver measurable return on investment and beautifully functional spaces that support the people who live, learn, work and heal in them every day.