New York City's public and private institutions initiated $2.9 billion in construction projects during the first half of 2015, up from $796 million through June of 2014, a 269% increase, according to a New York Building Congress analysis of construction data from Dodge Data & Analytics.

The sectors examined include elementary and secondary schools, hospitals and health care, higher education, courts, libraries, cultural facilities, and religious institutions.

“New York City's public and private institutions continue to demonstrate a remarkable consistency in terms of their willingness and ability to methodically invest in maintaining and upgrading their facilities for the long haul,” said Building Congress President Richard T. Anderson. "Unlike the residential sector, which can quickly go from boom to bust and back again based on economic conditions, the institutional sector has proven to be a reliable and consistent source of construction activity year in and year out."

The value of construction projects initiated in the institutional sector during the first half of 2015 represents the best start to a year since at least 2009, which is the earliest period for which the Building Congress has data.

The strong start to 2015 comes on the heels of the $3 billion in institutional construction projects initiated during the second half of 2014, making for a 12-month total of $5.9 billion.

For the full year of 2014, institutional construction starts reached $3.8 billion, up from $2.6 billion in 2013 and $2.4 billion in 2012.

Schools and hospitals continue to be the main drivers of new construction projects in the institutional sector.

Between July 2008 and June 2015, work on New York City public elementary and secondary schools accounted for 37% ($8.5 billion) of all institutional construction starts by total value. Of the projects started in the first half of 2015, public schools accounted for 33%.