College and university students prefer schools with attractive housing options
Student housing is a critical component when it comes to recruiting students and retaining them through graduation. Young men and women want to live in modern, purpose-built housing within walking distance of campuses. Some will settle for nothing less – and that is driving a tidal wave of demand for modern, appealing housing options on campuses throughout the country.
Thousands of student housing projects will be completed in 2019 because the recruiting of students is about as competitive as it gets, and institutions of higher education cannot survive without student growth and retention.
There are about 5,300 colleges and universities in the U.S., and half of them are accredited four-year institutions. That’s why the projections are that the demand for student housing will not subside anytime soon.
In California, state officials are currently seeking ways to purchase and then repurpose or demolish an outdated building in downtown San Jose. The San Jose State University wants to locate a student housing facility on the site because the location is so great. If everything goes as planned, the site will be redeveloped as mixed-use retail/residential for students and faculty.
Officials at Bluefield State College in West Virginia also want to launch a construction project for on-campus student housing. There are plans under consideration to construct four buildings, each of which will house students.
The College of Law on the University of Hastings’ campus in San Francisco may soon have student housing. College officials are in talks to purchase property and construct a 14-story tower to house students. The law school envisions an “academic village” and the student housing tower would be open for the college’s own students as well as students from other, nearby universities.
Officials at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, recently announced an exploratory phase for adding more campus housing to accommodate a growing student enrollment. After making numerous innovative adaptations to address a housing shortage in the past few years, including providing incentives for students to live off-campus, university leaders say they must now provide new student housing.
The Governing Board of Palomar Community College in North San Diego recently hired a consultant to conduct a feasibility study regarding building student housing on the 200-acre campus. School officials know that the need for student housing is acute. Recommendations call for building a 750-bed housing facility, with units available by 2022 or 2023.
Community colleges have not been known for offering student housing, but they now are reversing that stance. Another community college, Lake Tahoe Community College in Nevada, is also exploring plans to build on-campus student residences. School officials say they are drafting a solicitation document targeted to developers interested in partnering with the college on a student housing project. They are also exploring designs and budgets for a tiny home village to be sited on campus, which would be ready as early as the 2020-21 school year.
Colorado State University administrators are in the planning phase for designing new residence halls and a new dining facility. The project will be called Meridian Village. A design team will soon begin work on new student residences with a target of adding 600 additional beds. Preliminary plans call for 300 new beds available for fall 2021 and another 300 available by fall 2023.
Commissioners in Cobb County, Georgia, are close to ending a nearly two-year moratorium on the new construction of apartments for college students. The county has proposed new zoning regulations that would allow purpose-built housing for students and faculty of local colleges and universities. The new code clears the way for Kennesaw State University to pursue plans to build student housing projects near its Marietta Campus.
Officials at Virginia Tech recently approved a $1.66 billion budget that would designate millions in funding to build new residence halls to meet the university’s surging enrollment. The board approved a number of capital projects, including the Global Business and Analytics Complex Residence Halls, which will house 700 students. The project is estimated at $84 million, with funding from the Virginia General Assembly. The board also approved a $33 million plan to demolish construct a new 300-bed dorm in its place and a strategic plan that outlines strategies to provide more campus housing.
There are no projections for a decline in the demand for student housing projects in 2020, so interested contractors have ample time to begin getting acquainted with college and university officials who will be making project decisions throughout 2019 and into 2020.
The demand for housing is a huge boon to construction firms … but that’s not all. The projects result in increased needs for lighting, technology, furniture, equipment, appliances, landscaping, and more. Companies of all types are benefitting from the increased demand.