Photo:Northview, University of Central Florida
Raising the Bar on New Student Housing
Three things to consider before your next build
Student housing has grown from merely on-campus living and has become an integral part of the entire collegiate experience. There has been a considerable shift in the importance of technological capabilities of living spaces with an increased focus on sustainability and inclusivity. Student housing can sometimes be the deciding factor of where students decide to go to college.
Even more challenging for university presidents, housing directors, CFO’s, and trustees is the increased lack of available financing, decreasing government funding, lack of space on campus, and bureaucratic red tape. Choosing who you will use to build and how their process is completed can be even more critical than making a choice to build at all.
Many universities are opting to move away from traditional design-bid-build construction and move to working with a design-build company that can provide a single point of contact for the design and construction of the student housing complexes. This approach eliminates the hassle of dealing with multiple companies, cost overruns, and scheduling issues inherent in the traditional building process.
But with so much at stake, how can you be sure you have the right partner to build your next project? Here are some things to consider before embarking on your next build:
- 1. Will the design be flexible enough to allow cost-effective changes in the space as needs change? Student housing needs today are different than they were even ten years ago. As student and faculty needs evolve, what is the university’s long-term housing strategy, and how should it influence the overall design? Is the space flexible, and can it be readily converted down the road as needs change? Is the method for construction going to provide aesthetically pleasing open areas affordably? A forward-thinking approach should be taken up front to ensure that quality designs are adaptable for the future and created within the boundaries of the desired budget.
- 2. What is the desired schedule? The beginning of the school year is a fixed date, and housing delays are expensive setbacks that can cost universities millions. In a post-pandemic world, universities are working on getting back on track with plans and schedules. A single source designbuilder should work with you to meet your goals and deliver the project on time, within the desired parameters -- with no excuses. In today’s world, with the technology available to assist in the design, manufacturing, and construction of buildings, a guaranteed delivery date is not only possible, but it should also be expected.