Construction spending by education institutions topped $36 billion in 2006. While strong by historical standards, it represents the third consecutive year that total spending on construction dropped from the year before.

According to American School & University's 33rd annual Official Education Construction Report, total spending on new, addition and retrofit construction by America's school districts and higher-education institutions slowed to $36.6 billion in 2006 from $37.5 billion the year before. While the need for construction continues to be strong, many institutions delayed, reduced in scope, or postponed construction activity because of rapidly rising costs and unforeseen market conditions.

Much of the drop in 2006 can be attributed to higher education, as construction spending by colleges and universities dipped to $11.3 billion from $14.5 billion the year before. School districts increased spending on construction to $25.3 billion in 2006, compared with $23 billion put in place in 2005.

What follows is the authoritative source for education construction data, detailing spending by type of institution; projected spending through 2009; regional spending; per-square-foot and per-student costs; and much more — providing you with benchmark information as you plan future projects.