College Planning & Management

JUN 2012

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LIVING ON CAMPUS Location, Location, Location Does the location of the college have an ef- fect on the cost of residence halls? To examine this, we roughly divided the reporting colleg- es into fi ve regions. Ten were in the Northeast, defi ned as New England to Virginia. Twelve were in the Southeast (the Carolinas and Ten- nessee, and south from there). Another 11 are in the Midwest, including the traditional Big Ten states. The largest group of 13 was in the Southwest, including Texas and the states that border it. The balance was placed in the West, from Colorado to the Pacifi c. Only four col- leges are included in this group, so medians could be misleading. As expected, it costs more to build in the West than anywhere else ($115,434 per student; $404.83 per sq. ft.) but the size of the sample is too small for comfort. Twenty- one residence halls were identifi ed in the western states, but owners and architects from 17 did not respond to requests for in- formation. Unverifi ed data from fi ve of those indicates a somewhat lower cost per sq. ft., but still above the national average. In the Northeast, the median residence hall cost among 10 reporting institu- tions was $49M, or $79,285 per student and $294.39 per sq. ft. These residences provided 308 sq. ft. per student, about the national average. In the Southeast, on the other hand, the median project cost just $25M and $48,106 per student. The difference can be traced to a factor that colleges have diffi culty control- ling: the cost to build. In the Southeast it was $168.30 per sq. ft., compared to $294 in the Northeast. Cost per sq. ft. of construction in Texas and surrounding states (the Southwest) was also relatively low — $184.59 — and southwestern colleges also kept their costs lower by providing less space per student than those in the rest of the nation. Midwest- ern colleges had the largest residence halls (a median of 228,639 sq. ft.) and provided the most space per student. Again, space per stu- dent is based on overall space, which includes such amenities as classrooms and dining halls. Midwest colleges were more likely than those in any other region to provide dining halls, which may be a factor. Public and Private Eight private colleges provided informa- tion for this study, compared to 42 public colleges. The private colleges tended to con- struct smaller residence halls (only two of the private college residences were designed for more than 200 students) and, obviously therefore, they cost less ($11.4M each, com- pared to $35.5M among public colleges) and were physically smaller (61,834 sq. ft. was the median size of the private college residence halls). However, in terms of cost per student, the private colleges spent a little more and they provided considerably more space (434 sq. ft. per student, compared to 309). Amenities Table 2 (on page 28)takes a look at some of the amenities provided in residence halls nationally by size, by region, and by governance. We queried colleges about TABLE 1 Cost & Size of Residence Halls Cost of Total Project* All Reporting Colleges (sample size 50) Fewer than 200 beds (sample size 7) 201 to 500 beds (sample size 19) More than 500 beds (sample size 24) Midwest (sample size 11) Northeast (sample size 10) Southeast (sample size 12) Southwest (sample size 13) West (sample size 4) Public (sample size 42) Private (sample size 8) $33,520,000 $11,200,000 $24,700,000 $47,878,126 $48,170,000 $49,128,126 $25,000,000 $26,600,000 $49,250,000 $35,465,400 $11,410,000 Number of Students 499 132 416 619 442 550 525 438 651 525 141 Size of Project (sq. ft.) 152,404 55,000 120,566 204,750 228,639 176,129 142,000 113,178 166,891 174,477 61,834 * All fi gures are medians for the sample shown. Each median was determined independently so fi gures may not add up. To read this table: The median total cost of 50 reporting residence halls was $33,520,000. The median cost among the seven residences with fewer than 200 students was $11,200,000 but cost per student in the smaller halls was $79,545 compared to $67,231 for larger projects with more than 500 students. Cost per Student $68,106 $79,545 $66,500 $67,231 $94,275 $79,285 $48,106 $54,887 $115,434 $68,106 $72,714 Cost per Sq. Ft. $202.86 $203.64 $190.77 $212.98 $232.00 $294.39 $168.30 $184.59 $404.83 $206.38 $186.43 Sq. Ft. per Bed 311.6 520.2 294.1 314.4 382.1 308.2 314.9 294.1 282.7 309.3 434.1 26 COLLEGE PLANNING & MANAGEMENT / JUNE 2012 WWW.PLANNING4EDUCATION.COM

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