Three Ways Student Housing Can Trip You Up
Corvias Group SVP of construction Jim Wickenheiser is a Michigan Wolverine and has a law degree from Wayne State. He also knows that, when building student housing, three keys to getting your project done can also be your downfall.
1) Creative Financing
Jim says universities are constantly searching for long-term, sustainable solutions to their on-campus housing challenges. When Corvias partners with schools, its financial model takes the excess cash flow and reinvests it back into the project, allowing schools to dedicate their funds elsewhere on campus. Additionally, addressing deferred maintenance in existing campus housing (which can also be funded through excess cash flow) helps preserve building quality. It’s a wise investment, Jim says, because the condition of campus housing is a key tool for recruiting students. (It's cool Andrew WK played Spring Fling back in '07, but what about those holes in the dorm ceiling?)
2) Partnerships = Cost-Cutting
Public/private partnerships can result in cost savings. Money is the No. 1 concern for most campus leaders. Part of working in student housing includes staying up to date and relevant with trends and technology. One way to help save money is by incorporating sustainable building design and construction, he says.
Jim says renovation projects can usually be scheduled during the summer weeks or during breaks while school is out—so there’s no class disruption or safety issues. Because these are pretty tightly-defined windows, it’s key to perform due-diligence in the pre-planning phase, you can’t be in planning mode while on site, Jim says. (Procrastinating is bad for homework and construction crews.)