By Kristina Michel
The University of Houston successfully passed the facilities audit conducted by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, allowing it to continue construction and improvement projects over the next five years. The audit began in May with a physical inspection, and the final report was submitted July 17.
Public universities and colleges in Texas receive a great deal of funding for construction and capital improvement projects from the state. To ensure that they are using these funds properly and efficiently, the coordinating board conducts an audit every five years on whether space and rooms inside campus facilities are being used and categorized resourcefully and accurately.
“The data reported in this audit is used in funding formulas for the board,” said Dawn Taylor-Dartez, space inventory manager for UH Facilities Planning and Construction. “It is also used in the determination of costs to be reimbursed by the federal government and other sponsors of university contracts and grants.”
To conduct the audit, the board randomly selects 35 rooms in buildings located throughout campus. Board agents perform a walkthrough of each of the rooms and judge them on how well they meet eight compliance goals. The goals account for things such as accurate labeling of room numbers, area, function and seating capacities, and whether the rooms are being used according to their designated function.
For each goal, the board assigns a score of 1 to 5, 5 being the highest and 1 being the lowest. A score of 3 or higher is needed to pass. UH scored a perfect 5 in six out of eight goals. It received passing scores of 4 and 3 in the remaining two goals.
Having passed the audit, the University can continue its work on capital improvement projects, capital construction projects, renovation projects and real estate property purchases currently underway or being planned for the future.
“Passing this audit affirms that we have an accurate and current facilities inventory, “ said Taylor-Dartez. “The information obtained will also help to provide state and federal agencies a useable baseline for future evaluations, and it will help in making long-range projections of campus facilities’ needs.”