University of Missouri Benchmarking Study

University of Missouri Columbia Benchmarking Study

Faced with state funding challenges and backlog of deferred maintenance, the University of Missouri knew it could rely on thorough benchmarking data to make hard decisions about how to reduce operating costs.  


University of Missouri-Columbia


Columbia, Missouri


Campus Strategy & Analytics, Higher Education

Even before the pandemic, the University of Missouri (MU) was taking a hard look at reducing and reallocating space on its flagship campus in Columbia. University leaders knew they needed to proactively address a pending shortfall in maintenance funding and $881 million worth of deferred maintenance and building needs. They also wanted to evaluate the space needs of four academic colleges that were experiencing growth.  

Through the quality and quantity of benchmarking data gathered, SmithGroup was able to provide MU with a broad picture of 19 peer institutions, offering comparative data at both the university-wide and individual college level. Having a trusted advisor gather and compile such detailed information across multiple institutions provided valuable external reference points for MU, reinforcing what can be difficult decisions for academic institutions. 


University of Missouri Benchmarking Study HIgher Education


The benchmarking data played a role in the University of Missouri expanding its original space reduction goals from 500,000 square feet to 750,000 square feet by 2024. Its Space Reduction and Strategic Relocation Plan has reduced the university’s deferred maintenance and capital needs backlog by more than $136 million and saved approximately $4.7 million in annual operating costs to date. It includes the demolition or divestiture of 20 buildings, and additional space savings achieved by sharing certain department classrooms, conference rooms, staff office, and other facilities. Rather than committing limited budget dollars into maintenance of inadequate facilities, the university now can reallocate those funds into spaces that better serve its students, faculty, and staff by supporting the academic and research mission of this Association of American Universities (AAU) institution.