Spending on construction by the nation's school districts and colleges slowed in 2007, representing the fourth consecutive year total expenditures dropped from the year before and setting a low point in spending so far this decade, according to American School & University's 34th annual Official Education Construction Report.

A difficult economy and rapidly rising costs took their toll as many education institutions trimmed or postponed planned projects. Total spending on new, addition and modernization construction by school districts and higher-education institutions dropped to $32.9 billion from $36.6 billion in 2006. But while total spending slowed, the amount K-12 institutions and colleges allocated to new buildings increased, reflecting the pressure to continue constructing new spaces to keep up with enrollment growth.

School district spending on new construction increased to $14.7 billion in 2007 from $13.7 billion the year before, and college spending on new construction jumped to $7.3 billion from $5.3 billion in 2006.

Following is the authoritative source for education construction data, detailing spending by type of institution; projected spending through 2010; per-square-foot and per-student costs; and much more. In addition, new data on the impact of green and security on education construction is included, providing you with insight as you plan future construction projects.

Arriving at the results

Results for the 34th 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. Further 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.