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Renewal Expenditure Prioritization To

Ottawa Public Library

Innovation Summary

Develop an Expenditure Prioritization Tool to analyze and weigh a variety of factors in order to identify facility renovation priorities over a 10 to 15 year time frame.

Problem Statement

The Ottawa Public Library has 33 branches ranging in size from 600 to 90,000 square feet. The oldest one was built in 1877 and the newest one opened in 2011. Some are in recreation centres, some in malls and others are standalone buildings. With dwindling capital budgets and a need to prioritize improvements to these branches a methodology needed to be developed which would clearly identify OPL’s priorities for renovating and improving its branches for Senior Management and the OPL Board. At the same time the resulting tool would need to be flexible enough that data could be changed, update, and reprioritized as time passes and needs, base costs and underlying assumptions evolved and changed.


The tool consolidated available facilities and expenditure data into an MS Excel workbook. The data successfully analyzed and weighted a large number of factors including age of facility, size of facility, public usage of facility, replacement value of building, threat and risk assessment costs, long term lifecycle costs of facility, renovation strategy dependent on building type, etc. Tool prioritization logic was developed and based on drivers and weightings identified through consultation with Ottawa Public Library staff. The analysis resulted in the development of a Facility Utilization Index and a Facility Condition Index which allowed all branches to be compared equally on a single grid.


The tool’s analysis resulted in the development of a list summarizing the evaluation of expenditure requirements for each Branch. This tool and its data analysis were then successfully employed by staff to guide OPL’s Board Facilities Committee in identifying priorities which to be used in developing the annual Capital Budget Long Range Financial Plan submission to the City of Ottawa. Staff will update the tool’s data annually as well as identify how priorities may shift or change as time passes and facility utilization and condition data changes.