Process Overview

The goal of Cornell’s capital planning process is to align our physical and technical assets with our university mission and priorities, all within the limits of available financial, staff, and space resources.

Capital Planning House

The annual capital planning process surveys units and provides key data necessary for the Division of Budget and Planning to fulfill two primary responsibilities:

  • Develop a realistic and accurate annual capital budget, and
  • Support on-going capital planning to identify and understand university needs helping to define future capital projects in partnership with units and Facilities and Campus Services.

This process occurs within a framework that aims to:

  • Implement appropriately scaled planning for capital needs that are in early development, reviewing size, scope, and budget;
  • Establish a prioritized list of needs that can shape the plan and planning decisions in future years, and
  • Align the funding resources with priority needs.

Capital Process Slide

Annually, units are surveyed for capital needs and each unit meets with key central stakeholders on the Physical Plant Planning Group (3PG) to discuss those priorities, funding strategies, timing and sequencing, and possible synergies with other known needs.   These conversations result in a draft capital plan and annual capital budget that is refined over several months.  Each year in May, the Board of Trustees approves the annual capital budget within the multi-year capital plan.

The capital plan focus is on strategic renewal and is guided by the following strategies:

  • Diligent monitoring of existing project budgets for inflation and other escalations, prioritizing where needed to manage resource constraints
  • Focusing on maintenance backlog, asset protection, compliance, and health and safety, in coordination with programmatic renovations where possible
  • Maximizing internal funding sources, when available
  • Adhering to funding controls
  • Pursuing space utilization improvements and efficiencies, and limiting net new space to fully funded priorities or revenue generating programs
  • Maintaining stewardship of the historic campus
  • Aligning capital campaign, ten-year capital, and operation plans
  • Prudent management of university debt capacity