f you haven’t been doing a lot of school projects lately, 2016. Starts are projected to grow by 8 percent (to 315 mil-  
that could change soon. The educational sector, the lion square feet) next year.  
Educational building starts were on the uptick in  
crease in K-12 school construction.According to the Dodge 2014 before a pause in 2015. However, renewed growth  
Data & Analytics 2017 Dodge Construction Outlook report, is projected in 2016.This will carry into 2017 with a  
school construction will drive the institutional segment in square-footage increase of 9 percent (to 127 million) and  
largest nonresidential building segment, is seeing an in-  
017. Additionally, more growth is expected in the amuse- a 10-percent spike in dollar volume (to $53.1 billion).  
ment category—particularly convention centers, sports At Dodge’s Construction Outlook Conference in Octo-  
arenas and casinos—as well as transportation terminals. ber, chief economist Robert Murray said that enrollment  
According to Dodge,institutional building will advance 10 demographics are starting to drive the K-12 sector, as  
percent in 2017 (to $118.5 billion), resuming its expansion well as deteriorating conditions of existing schools due  
after a slowdown the previous two years.The sector saw dol- to a lack of investment in recent years.  
lar-volume increases of just 1 percent and 3 percent in 2015  
The higher-education segment is still important, though  
and 2016, respectively. In terms of square footage, starts starts have scaled back the past two years. Some positive  
declined 2 percent in 2015 and increased just 1 percent in indicators do exist, however. According to Murray, college  
Educational Buildings  
111 msf  
125 msf  
123 msf  
127 msf  
138 msf  
$38.7 b  
$44.6 b  
$46.7 b  
$48.3 b  
$53.1 b  
In 2015, square footage for K-12 school construction was four times the size of colleges/universities/community colleges.  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | January 2017  
Building to Give  
Sector a Lift  
by Nick St. Denis  
In 2015, square footage for K-12 construction was 4 times  
the size of colleges/universities/community colleges.  
endowments investment returns are projected to tick back  
up in the coming years, and major universities are now  
re-visiting deferred capital spending plans.  
Dodge projects healthcare facility starts will increase  
percent in 2017 (to 69 million in square feet and $25 bil-  
lion in dollar value) following a 4-percent decline in 2016.  
The healthcare facilities category continues to hover  
around 65 to 70 million square feet, so we’re not yet able to  
see renewed expansion in a sustained manner,”said Murray.  
He said debate over healthcare reform has created near-  
term uncertainty,and other factors that could be holding back  
gains are uncertainty over reduced Medicare reimbursements,  
Affordable Care Act implementation and more healthcare  
mergers. He added that a Supreme Court decision in favor of  
federal subsidies in states with exchanges set up by the federal  
government eased some, but not all, uncertainty.  
In 2015, dollars for K-12 school construction were 2.2 times  
the size of colleges/universities/community colleges.  
U.S. Institutional - Educational Buildings  
Top 10 States K-12 School Construction - 9 months year-  
to-date, 2016 vs 2015. Based on dollars.  
That aside, some healthcare building prospects look  
positive. Murray said the sector is still supported by a  
need to replace aging facilities, the growth of the elderly  
population and a move toward a “hub-and-spoke” sys-  
tem. Additionally, storefront clinics are growing, which  
could be a plus for renovation work.  
Other Segments  
Transportation terminals are expected to see a 5-percent  
decrease in starts in 2016 but a 25-percent increase in dollar  
value due to large renovation projects. In 2017, Dodge proj-  
ects starts will climb 12 percent (to 21.5 million square feet)  
and 10 percent in value (to $9.7 billion). This will be driven  
by major airport construction projects—a sector that uses  
large expanses of glass.  
The amusement category will see major increases in  
017, growing 13 percent in starts and dollar volume (to  
6.9 million square feet and $17 billion, respectively).  
Public building construction has been on the decline  
N i c k S t . D e n i s is the research  
editor for USGlass magazine. He can be  
reached at  
for much of the last decade due to tight fiscal conditions,  
though Dodge projects 2016 will represent the bottom of  
the cycle and that 2017 will see a 6-percent increase in  
starts and a 9-percent jump in dollar value. n  
January 2017 | USGlass, Metal & Glazing  

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