Spending on construction by the nation's education institutions increased in 2008, reversing four years of declines in total annual expenditures, according to American School & University's 35th annual Official Education Construction Report.

One of the reasons for the increase in spending was the fact that the majority of the construction projects were started prior to the escalation of the economic crisis and were locked in to higher prices for materials and labor, among other things. Total spending on new, addition and modernization construction by school districts and higher-education institutions increased to $43.3 billion in 2008 from $32.9 billion the year before.

Spending by school districts increased to $25.5 billion in 2008 from $20.3 billion in 2007. New construction spending by K-12 institutions grew 18 percent and addition/modernization spending jumped 46 percent. Colleges and universities spent $17.8 billion on construction in 2008, up from $12.7 billion the year before. Expenditures grew 35 percent for new construction and 48 percent for additions and modernizations.

The following pages contain the authoritative source for education construction data, detailing spending by type of institution; projected spending through 2011; per-square-foot and per-student costs; and much more. In addition, data on the impact of green and security on education construction is included, providing you with insight as you plan future construction projects.

The Trusted Source

As the bellwether report documenting education construction activity for the past 35 years, American School & University's Official Education Construction Report is regularly referenced by local, state and federal agencies, as well as the nation's leading news organizations. AS&U actually started compiling data on school and university construction in 1950 for the 1949 year. After a decade or so of yearly surveys, data began being compiled sporadically until industry demand prompted AS&U to start collecting data annually again. The annual reports resurfaced in 1975 with information on education construction completed in 1974, and data has been collected and published every year since. American School & University is the only authorized source of this education construction information.

Methodology: Arriving at the results

Results for the 35th annual Official Education Construction Report were compiled via a detailed questionnaire sent to chief business officials at the nation's school districts and colleges, asking about construction completed during the past year and construction planned to be completed in the next three years.

Administrators that completed or planned construction during this timeframe were then asked to provide a variety of details on the amount being spent, the type of construction being done (new, addition or modernization), and the expected completion date. All respondents involved with new and retrofit construction were asked to provide additional information on each project. Follow-up correspondence was made to clarify some data. Responses were separated by institution type, region of the country and institution size, and projected across the education universe.