The Implementation Plan is the College’s action plan to address the physical master plan. The implementation of the master plan is an ongoing – ever-changing course of improvement. It combines all types of projects in an attempt to strategically address higher priorities with limited funds. The plan consolidates repairs and replacement needs, renovations, new projects, utility improvements, and land issues.

Due to the lack of state support in higher education facilities, Fort Lewis College have looked for alternative methods to meet facility needs. In the past, prior to 2001, the state had taken primary responsibility for the funding of academic facilities and controlled maintenance. The combination of TABOR and Amendment 23 (K-12) in conjunction with a sharp and sustained decline in state revenue has made funding of capital construction problematic. The significant capital appropriations between 1993 and 2000 were the result of a strong and expanding economy combined with the interaction of the TABOR funding limit and the statutory 6% state general fund operating limit. These particular circumstances will be very difficult to replicate in the future. In addition, the impact of Amendment 23 further exacerbates the problem. In order to continue to meet the needs of students it will be necessary for higher education institutions in Colorado to develop mechanisms which place greater responsibility on themselves to define and fund facility requirements.

Funding Mechanisms

  1. Capital Appropriations – As noted above, the ability of the state to provide capital appropriations in the future will be difficult. Clearly, priority will be given to acute life, health, and safety projects. Funding for other projects will require a high degree of leverage from private as well as internal sources of revenue. This includes Capital Construction and Controlled Maintenance appropriations.
  2. Issuance of Certificates of Participation (COP’s) Most recently, the state authorized the sale of over $200 million of state-backed certificates of participation to provide funding for certain facilities at the Fitzsimons campus of the University of Colorado and for a maximum security prison in Canon City. These certificates require an annual appropriation from the General Assembly to retire the debt, which is spread over a 25-30 year period of time. Since the source of the repayment would be state capital construction fund revenue, which is in short supply, the applicability of this mechanism to Fort Lewis College is questionable.
  3. Sale and Lease-back of capital assets - For this mechanism the institution identifies a capital asset on campus that has no debt obligation. Once the asset is appraised, it is sold to bond holders and the proceeds are used to fund facility needs. At the end of the lease period, the original asset again becomes the property of the institution. The campus makes annual lease payments for the right to continue to utilize the original asset, usually for a 25-year period. This mechanism requires the campus to identify a source of revenue to pay the lease on an annual basis.
  4. Auxiliary Revenue Bonds - This has been the traditional method of funding auxiliary facilities in Colorado. Specific applications would include housing, parking, research facilities, and the like. Generally, this alternative requires the facility to be part of an enterprise, as defined by TABOR, and to have a source of revenue to pay off the bonds. For example, housing revenue, parking revenue, ICR revenue, etc. This must be a discreet project so there is a specific security against the bond and a dedicated source of revenues.
  5. Enterprise Bonding for Academic Facilities - Under SB04-252 allows higher education institutions to pledge a portion of its tuition revenue or create a capital fee to make payment on a revenue bond. This requires that the institution be an enterprise, which is possible under COF legislation. This mechanism is currently being used by the University of Colorado to fund certain facilities including the law school and the ATLAS building on the Boulder campus. An institution may establish a facilities fee, after appropriate student consultation, to repay facility bonds and/or pledge up to 10% of tuition revenue for bond repayment.
  6. Privatization - Some institutions have handled housing and certain other facility needs by leasing a portion of their property to a third party to build and operate the needed asset. While this may keep the asset off the balance sheet of the institution, the rating agencies generally assume that the debt incurred by the private party is ultimately the obligation of the institution because the institution cannot afford for the project to fail since it is integral to the campus. Also, it is generally more expensive to the ultimate user of the facility, generally students, because financing is done on a taxable basis and the third party captures a profit. The upside for an institution is that these facilities may be developed and operated by individuals who are expert in their field, which is their primary business, and it does not divert institutional time and talent away from the primary educational mission.

Other traditional funding sources that are important

  • Operating Funds
  • Parking Revenues/Fees
  • Conference Income
  • Donations/Gifts/Pledges
  • Grants
  • Historic Preservation
  • Business Partnerships
  • Governmental Partnerships
  • Research Building Revolving Fund (after grant program is developed)
  • Facility Endowments

The above funding considerations are the basis to the development of the Fort Lewis College Facilities Development Plan (FDP). This is the Implementation Plan for the campus Master Plan. This is where the physical needs outlined in the Master Plan are conceptualized into projects, prioritized and funding is sought for.

All campus physical improvements of substantial scale are incorporated into the FDP, regardless of type, priority, or funding. This provides a complete picture of all the campus’ physical needs, helping organize improvements with maintenance and operations.

Funding strategies are introduced and projects are prioritized for use during the upcoming fiscal year. Project plans are developed for highest priority projects and budget requests are developed for the projects that have yet to be funded.

During the annual review process, the Physical Plant and Facilities Planning Committee updates the FDP. Project information is adjusted, new projects introduced, completed projects removed, and new priorities established. The FDP, and its process, insures projects are implemented in a manner that reflects programmatic needs and academic priorities of the campus.

The Program Issues and the College’s Academic Plan (both included in the Master Plan Reference Information) are the premise to most all improvements included in the Implementation Plan. Priorities are determined by the Planning Committee and are based on numerous variables. Some of which include health and life safety concerns, accreditation issues, space needs, building conditions, academic priorities, revenues, life cycle costs, and general efficiencies in facilities use.

Implementation Plan Summary