Districts use IBM technology to modernize campuses

The School District of Palm Beach County (SDPBC) in Florida, Portland Public Schools (PPS) in Oregon and Clark County School District (CCSD) in Nevada are using IBM Smarter Building technology in an effort to reduce operating costs, generate new revenue streams and increase returns on invested capital. The software helps each of these school systems make decisions on how their physical assets, such as school buildings and facilities, are used.

By discovering how efficiently physical assets are being used – and finding new uses for its buildings – schools are able to reallocate resources to instructional purposes, save costs and have the potential to generate new revenue opportunities.

IBM Helps School District of Palm Beach County Increase Revenues
With nearly 178,000 students and 4,500 hundred acres of land, the School District of Palm Beach County is the 11th largest school district in the United States. Facing increased pressure to cut costs and add revenue to offset reduced budgets, SDPBC used campus vacancies during non-school hours to provide nearly 3000 room and building leases annually to commercial and non-profit organizations. Although the program generates additional revenue for the district, the manual leasing and contract processes proved to be time consuming and expensive to maintain.

To better manage this cost and reduce administrative paperwork, SDPBC implemented IBM TRIRIGA across its 187 schools. Since rolling out the solution, the district has increased leasing revenue and it is expected to generate $4.5 million this year by better utilizing its buildings, streamlining the leasing process and modernizing its management capabilities.

“IBM’s smarter buildings solution allows us to manage costs across building equipment and maintenance, maximize our facilities usage, and ensure a fair return on the Palm Beach County taxpayers’ investment,” said Joseph Sanches, Chief of Support Operations for SDPBC.

Portland Public Schools Turn to IBM to Help Modernize Campuses
The foundation for creating smarter schools starts with doing more with what already exists. Buildings within Portland Public Schools, the largest district in the Pacific Northwest, are on average nearly 70-years-old. This makes bringing modern technologies into classrooms across the nine million square feet school district to be increasingly challenging. Using IBM TRIRIGA, PPS is able to prioritize modernization efforts throughout their schools, which is a critical element when determining budgets.

PPS can now identify locations where structural updates are required within classrooms, increase the speed at which schools fix broken lights, pipes and other infrastructure, and predict when general repairs are needed. For example, if a water main breaks in one of the schools, the system automatically alerts the maintenance department about the location and type of problem, enabling a quick response with the appropriate tools for repairs. The increased awareness about repairs across the 81 schools in the district has enabled PPS to reduce facilities management costs by 15 percent while improving speed of modernization by 46 percent.

“Updating our campus facilities is a significant priority for the district, but the time and resources required to do this effectively can be demanding,” said Andy Fridley, Data Analyst of Portland Public Schools. “By finding a quick and efficient way to identify and predict which areas on campus require attention, we’re able to fast-track our modernization efforts while also achieving cost savings on reactive maintenance.”

Clark County School District Works with IBM to Increase Staff Efficiency
As the fifth largest school district in the country, Clark County School District (CCSD) is responsible for operating safe and efficient schools across 36 million square feet of building space. IBM Maximo software allows the district to prioritize, respond to and repair more than 110,000 work orders generated each year at CCSD’s 392 schools and administrative buildings, across 8,000 square miles.

Analytics also give CCSD the insights needed to predict and prevent future maintenance issues. During one instance, the school noticed a slight change in usage of one building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. This fluctuation was analyzed against normal usage and an alert about the abnormality was sent to staff, preventing a massive electrical issue that would have caused thousands of students to be transferred.

CCSD is using IBM’s Smarter Buildings software to gain visibility across its entire 8,000 square mile district. As a result, they significantly increased the percentage of actual billable hours spent on campus improvements and repairs – from 34 percent to more than 50 percent.

“IBM’s software enabled Clark County to go from just reacting to emergency work orders to making data-driven, even predictive decisions on maintenance requests,” said Cynthia Atterberry, Work Management Coordinator, Clark County School District.