I write to inform you that I have decided to opt out of the proposed plan to outsource facilities management. This decision was reached after considerable analysis of proposed savings and a close examination of our current and future operations.
I am deeply indebted to our staff, led by Senior Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Chris Cimino, who has worked diligently since 2015 to evaluate outsourcing on the Knoxville campus.
The goal of the proposed outsourcing plan was to improve efficiencies and determine what is in the best interest of our campus. We thank the state and the UT System administration for challenging us to engage in extensive cost analyses and an evaluation of our practices, which have led to cost-saving operational changes in keeping with the outsourcing goals.
My decision to opt out was based on the extensive analyses of the financial considerations, the complexity of the work done on our research-intensive campus, and our commitment to the East Tennessee economy and our workforce. It is for these reasons that I have decided outsourcing facilities management is not the best option for our campus.
Since the approval of the 2011 campus master plan, we have invested heavily in our facilities and infrastructure. In fact, we have increased the space we enhance and the buildings we maintain by more than 100 acres and one and a half million square feet.
During this historic period of growth, we have reduced operating expenses, become more efficient, avoided costs and subsequently reallocated savings to the academic mission. In fact, we rank among the lowest in the SEC in administrative and maintenance costs per square foot. Five-year projections indicate an additional $3.3 million in savings.
I want to thank the numerous people who have spent countless hours evaluating the outsourcing option. I have had dozens of meetings, received volumes of mail, and had detailed conversations with a wide range of constituents. I value all of this input and appreciate the opportunity to make a decision based on the best interests of our campus.
Beverly J. Davenport