If money were no object, schools would love to have an iconic design by a world-famous architect. People want to get the best-looking facilities they can. But they know they can't afford everything. We try to understand what the competing priorities are.

The folks that really have their act together get the building they want.

You have to have a president that is willing to walk away from gifts that aren't in line with what the school's needs are. That's really difficult, especially for schools that struggle to get cash.

With student centers, many schools want a building that gives the campus a presence. That's the draw. In those cases, a school might sacrifice some of the program inside — maybe reduce the seating from 700 to 600.