University of Oregon

Eugene, OR

Conference Facilities Feasibility Analysis

In 2011 the University of Oregon selected B&D to conduct a feasibility study for proposed conference facilities in the planned expansion and improvements of the Erb Memorial Union.  We recently had completed a master plan for the union’s expansion which called for expanded conference facilities and a new concert hall.  These new components would provide space to serve the campus and the nearby communities, and expand upon the university’s destination value.  While the university studied the concert hall, we were retained to apply our conference center planning expertise. Our tasks required both primary research and a review of existing usage of comparable conference facilities in the region.  An understanding of current levels of demand was essential for the projections in the financial model. The overall work plan included: a series of interviews with stakeholders and potential users; a review of surveys sent to campus departments and staff to assess potential markets for on-campus conferences; a competitive context analysis for conference space and catering operations; a demand analysis to quantify the potential usage of the conference facility; a financial analysis based on demand and usage type. We confirmed that the addition of conference facilities would give the university a resource that most major research universities already had in their inventory.  Flexible conference space size and capabilities would be required to achieve financial feasibility and respond to various users and conference demand.  Taking into account conservative, mid-range, and aggressive assumptions, we crafted a financial analysis that measured performance for each recommended program element.