New student housing projects are either launching or in the planning stage across the country, even as the continuing presence of Covid-19 has negatively impacted enrollment numbers.
Among the projects underway just this month: a $100 million student housing complex for Louisiana State University’s medical school in New Orleans; and a $1.1 billion mixed-use project at the Davis campus of the University of California that will include student housing.
Meanwhile, plans have been announced for the building of a $32 million student housing facility at Morgan State University in Baltimore; along with an $87 million, 25-story student tower at Georgia State University.
The new projects are coming at the same time that the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center has released a new report showing that undergraduate enrollment is off by 4.4% over the fall of 2019.
Four year colleges have been hit the hardest with a 10.5% decline, followed by private schools, seeing an 8.5% drop.
Undergraduate enrollment, according to the center’s statistics, has dropped some 3.5% in Arizona in the last year, with Colorado taking a 5.9% decline, and New Mexico off by 9.7%.
Compounding the challenge for new student housing is the overwhelming number of schools that are currently conducting classes online, with only 25% offering instruction in person.
Even so, argues the publication Building Design + Construction: “There will always be a need for residence life that allows students to collaborate, socialize, and interact.”
Agrees Multi-Housing News: “Student housing professionals remain optimistic about the future.”
But industry sources say that while significantly large new student housing projects are expected to continue well into 2022, the nuts and bolts of their construction will change in response to the pandemic.
Those sources predict less dense designs, with a greater emphasis on pedestrian flow in new student housing projects.
Also on deck: more outdoor and open spaces, HVAC and touchless access, and increased Wi-Fi due to the fact that so many students will be video conferencing or streaming.
By Garry Boulard
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