Books on the shelves are so tight, it takes the combined strength of three people to pull one off the shelf . The electrical wiring is so old that there is a fuse box, and the boiler is as old as your 1903 building. The library needs a bigger, better building! You have been saving money, you are getting ready to hire an architect, and you are charging ahead. This is great, this is fun! But wait! There is another step you need to do first! Affording to build is one thing, but is the current operating budget large enough to cover the additional running costs of a larger building? Let’s find out.
The first step is to pull your final financial statements for the last three to five years. Look at the total expended in each budget line item. You may need to pull bills from three to five years from particular vendors (the power company and HVAC maintenance for example). Take the highest annual figure and increase it by 5% to 8% which will allow for a future rate increase or more extreme temperatures. If you plan to add many more computers or other heavy utility loading equipment (like a larger computer lab), you may want to increase this another couple of percentage points. A more efficient furnace or lighting system may lower the cost just as much but do not count on it. Operating costs are often more than anticipated. Total the utility bills for each year and divide it by the square footage of the current building. Then multiply the square foot operating cost by the total square footage you anticipate for the new and improved library you are hoping to build. This will give you an idea of your usage in the new facility annually.
If you plan to add a service desk or another floor, you will need to add more staff. An empty service desk sends the wrong message to customers and non-supervised floors invite trouble. Flashers, necking duos, and other mischief makers love the quiet places where no one can see them to interrupt their activities. Figure how many employees it will take to staff a service desk every hour the library is open. If the space is significantly bigger it will also require more shelvers to cover that extra footage (more steps take more time) and more janitors to vacuum the new carpet and clean the larger, busier restroom or meeting room. Cost out the addition of staff hours and remember to add the cost of benefits to your figures.
A bigger facility will require more supplies of all kinds from paper and ink supplies for more computers and printers to more filters for more HVAC units to more cleaning supplies for the larger restrooms and other space. More lights means more light bulbs.
Is there a new or bigger parking lot? This will require more snow removal costs. The green areas surrounding the building and parking lot will probably require watering, mowing, pruning, and snow removal for the lots and sidewalks. Parking lot lights and watering will add to your ongoing utility costs.
To get a more accurate figure of the impact on your budget, you will need to do this exercise again when you have the final plans for your construction project. You are doing it now to analyze if you need to do some budget repair work. If you are not adequately funding your existing facility, you can’t hope to maintain and run a larger facility.