Key takeaways you will find in this article

  • Effective school planning now requires the integration of IT and facilities departments to create efficient and well-designed educational environments that support teaching and learning
  • Coordinated efforts between IT and facilities departments in budgeting and resource management optimize performance, eliminate redundancies, and achieve significant cost savings
  • The success of integrating IT and facilities departments depends on open communication and collaboration, ensuring inclusive decision-making and comprehensive, effective outcomes
  • The pandemic highlighted the need for adaptability in rolling out technology solutions, emphasizing the importance of IT and facilities working closely to maintain operational and safe school environments

Technology continues to evolve rapidly, transforming every industry from finance to IT. Its importance is ubiquitous, and the K-12 landscape is no different. Leveraging technology to bolster departmental cooperation and building efficiency is becoming increasingly critical in school districts. 

In the most recent episode of Beyond Buildings: Exploring Facilities Management, Maciel Pais, the IT and digital learning director at Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School, and FMX CEO Brian Gregory explore this subject in depth. They emphasize the symbiotic relationship between IT and facilities departments and the crucial need for open communication and collaborative school planning.

Let’s explore some of what they discussed. 

Cooperation between IT and facilities

Maintaining and investing in school facilities goes beyond mere maintenance. It requires that schools integrate their IT and facilities departments to plan effectively for the future. 

This integration has become essential for creating efficient and well-designed schools conducive to teaching and learning environments. 

By collaborating with one another, facilities and IT teams can leverage effective software solutions that make school districts more efficient. Districts can enhance building safety, lower costs, and improve sustainability performance. 

Planning and forecasting future needs for technology infrastructure, such as Wi-Fi networks, smart buildings, and energy-efficient systems, calls for a coordinated effort between IT and facilities teams. 

This forward-thinking approach optimizes performance. And results in significant cost savings. 

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy states that smart buildings, that utilize IT and facilities collaboration, can save up to 29% in energy usage. This reduction amounts to thousands of dollars annually.

Strategy for integration

Despite its importance, IT and facilities departments aren’t always integrated in school districts. It may take a significant lift to get everyone on the same page. Here are a few of the tips Maciel and Brian discussed: 

Joint planning sessions

Regular joint planning sessions between IT and facilities teams can help in aligning goals, identifying overlapping needs, and developing unified strategies.

Shared goals 

Establishing shared goals can foster collaboration and ensure that both departments work towards the same objectives. 

For instance, upgrading infrastructure to support hybrid learning models benefits IT (through improved connectivity) and facilities (through more efficient use of space).

Cross-departmental training

Encouraging cross-departmental training enables both teams to understand each other’s roles, challenges, and workflows. This mutual understanding can lead to more effective collaboration and problem-solving.

Integrated systems

Integrating management systems that provide a holistic view of facilities and IT assets can streamline communication and improve efficiency. Facilities management software solutions are critical to achieving this successfully.

Regular feedback

Establishing regular feedback loops helps in continuously improving processes and addressing any issues that arise promptly. This iterative approach ensures the integration remains dynamic and responsive to evolving needs.

Long-term benefits of integrating IT and facilities teams 

The long-term benefits of integrating IT and facilities departments are substantial. Districts can expect improved efficiency, reduced costs, and a learning environment that is better equipped to support modern educational practices. 

Schools managed through an integrated IT and facilities department monitor energy consumption in real-time, identify inefficiencies, and automate energy-saving measures such as lighting and HVAC control. They can significantly reduce utility expenses and minimize their environmental footprint by optimizing energy usage.

As technological advancements continue to reshape education, having a well-integrated support system ensures that schools can adapt quickly and effectively.

Listen to the Podcast

Written by