19th Annual Residence Hall Construction Report

June 1, 2008
The construction of residence hall facilities at colleges and universities continues to be strong.

The construction of residence hall facilities at colleges and universities continues to be strong, as institutions scramble to meet the housing needs and varied demands of a growing student population.

Data collected from 39 new residence hall projects completed in 2007 follow. According to American School & University's 19th annual Residence Hall Construction Report, the median cost per resident increased significantly, resulting in facilities that were smaller in both total square footage and number of residents accommodated than previous years.

Among the findings: the median new residence hall completed in 2007 was 69,125 square feet (down from 89,000 square feet in 2006) and accommodated 204 residents at a total cost of $11 million (compared with 316 residents and $15 million the year before).

Co-educational facilities remain the predominant type of new residence hall (75.7 percent), with the remainder designed for single-sex arrangements and/or couples/families. Individual colleges and universities financed the majority of the new residence hall projects in 2007 (66.7 percent); private financing accounted for 16.7 percent and 16.6 percent were paid for by a combination of the two.

The charts and tables that follow provide data by averages and medians, as well as list the various amenities provided in new residence hall facilities.

Residence Hall Construction (2007)

Variable Average Median Cost ($ millions) $14.8 $11.0 Size (Sq. Ft.) 76,219 69,125 Residents 240 204 $178 $166 Sq. Ft./Resident 347 319 Cost/Resident $58,252 $55,000

Housing costs - 10 years of data

The cost per square foot to construct a new residence hall in 2007 dropped slightly from the prior year's high. The median cost per square foot for the past decade:

1998 $130 1999 $120 2000 $126 2001 $128 2002 $150 2003 $140 2004 $114 2005 $169 2006 $169 2007 $166

Amenities in residence halls completed in 2007

Air conditioning 91% Carpeting 50% Classrooms 23% Computer access to library 56% Dining hall 28% Electronic access to building 77% Electronic access to rooms 49% Elevators 74% Fitness Center 18% Internet access-wired 77% Internet access-wireless 72% Kitchen 62% Laundry 90% Television rooms/lounges 82%

At a glance

Overview of the median new residence hall constructed in 2007:

  • Cost: $11.0 million
  • Size: 69,125 square feet
  • Residents: 204
  • Cost/square foot: $166
  • Square feet/resident: 319
  • Cost/resident: $55,000

A matter of space

The average amount of square feet per resident over the past 10 years in new residence halls:

YEAR AVE. SQ. FT./RES. 1998 294 1999 284 2000 319 2001 331 2002 340 2003 429 2004 457 2005 352 2006 357 2007 347

Project Snapshot: Modernized housing

With the completion of three new residence halls and an academic/recreational student activity facility, Middle Georgia College, Cochran, is moving toward its goal of modernizing all student housing on the college's main campus.

Gateway Residence Hall is suite-style housing where students have a single room and share a common bath with one other student. The three-story, 88,125-square-foot facility has 296 rooms in two wings connected by a gateway.

The three-story, 56,100-square-foot Harris Hall features apartment-style units that each have four bedrooms, two baths, a living room and a kitchenette with a full-size refrigerator, sink and counter.

Anderson Hall is a 59,886-square-foot, 257-bed building with 63 units, each including two double-occupancy rooms that share a bath.

The architect is Lord, Aeck & Sargent (Atlanta).

Project Snapshot: Living and learning

Rangeview Hall is the first new student housing project at Occidental College, Los Angeles, in more than 25 years and is the largest hall on campus. The four-story, 274-bed residence features a red clay-tile roof, outdoor loggias, recessed windows and a soft, off-white exterior that meshes with the surrounding campus.

“Living rooms” with comfortable seating and table arrangements merge the functions of the lobby and reception areas at the main entrance and create distinct, informal gathering spaces for residents to relax and engage in conversation.

The $38.8 million project includes private bathrooms, refrigerators and microwaves in each room, large closets with mirrored doors, laundry rooms on each floor, and a fitness center. The residence hall also includes multiple student lounges throughout the building, a 257-space underground parking garage and wireless Internet connectivity. High-efficiency HVAC systems and special insulating glass are among the many energy-saving features that help the project exceed California Title 24 energy efficiency standards.

Five classrooms are situated inside the building, which are intended to foster a “living-learning” environment. These classrooms are available for classes and double as meeting places for study groups and summer conferences, as well as for academic and social clubs.

The hall is arranged around a series of three open internal courtyards that offer additional gathering places for student socialization and divide the housing into three smaller-scaled neighborhoods. The largest courtyard serves as an outdoor banquet hall for “al fresco” dining, and can be used for fundraisers and other student activities.

The architect is MVE Institutional, Inc. (Irvine, Calif.)

Project Snapshot: High-tech housing

Pace University, New York City, transformed a former office building into a 500-student residence hall at 55 John Street — four blocks from the campus.

The residence hall will help boost retail commerce, increase the availability of young employees in the area, and provide summer housing to the downtown financial district's many interns.

“55 John Street,” as the residence hall is known, features double and triple rooms, each with a private bath. All rooms are equipped with flatscreen TVs, DVD players, cordless phones with free local service, WiFi technology, cable TV and Internet access, and self-controlled heating and air-conditioning in each room. The residence hall has a top-floor lounge, fitness and laundry facilities, and a community kitchen.

Educational Housing Services, a provider of outsourced student housing in New York, completed the renovation.

Project Snapshot: Green living

As part of its goal to become a carbon-neutral campus as quickly as possible, Pitzer College, Claremont, Calif., opened three new “green” residence halls in September 2007. The project's focus on the environment is expected to earn it a LEED-NC Gold rating.

Materials high in recycled content were used to construct the residence halls. The steel frame and columns are infilled with metal framing. The wood used on the balcony niches, handrails and fencing comes from suppliers certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Interior materials were chosen carefully to be low in VOCs to keep the spaces healthy.

Energy-saving strategies include solar photovoltaic cells to generate electricity; energy-efficient heating and cooling, delivered through individually controlled fan-coil units in each room; window sensors that automatically shut off the HVAC equipment when students leave windows open; and platinum-rated boilers that provide hot water for showers and sinks, as well as for heating needs.

Dutch doors and double-glazed operable windows on opposite sides of the residence hall rooms maximize ventilation and fresh air. Overhangs and sunshades help keep rooms cool and reduce the need for air-conditioning. Dual glazing, insulation and the thermal mass of concrete floors keep heat inside on cool winter evenings.

A rainwater recycling system percolates rainwater into the residence hall landscaping, using basins planted with hardy, unmowed grasses and boulders to anchor plant life.

The architect is Carrier Johnson (San Diego).

Agron is editor-in-chief of AS&U.

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