Washburn University

Topeka, KS

Student Housing Demand Analysis; Dining Programming and Operations Assessment

In 2013 B&D was hired by Washburn University to assess demand for additional on-campus student housing.  The objective was to identify demographic trends, understand the competitive landscape of the off-campus housing market, determine demand for additional on-campus housing, and reveal housing preferences for both on-campus and commuter students.  Our scope of work included both qualitative and quantitative research, beginning with a series of focus group interviews to understand students’ experiences at the university and to provide feedback on student life, residential life, and the campus in general.  The off-campus rental market was then analyzed to examine the location, amenity offerings, and price points of housing available to students, followed by a peer institution study outlining overall costs, demographics, and housing at competitive universities.  Using data gathered from an online student housing survey, we developed a model that projected the specific demand quantity for both existing and proposed unit types.  Our research and analyses defined demand for 350 additional residence hall-style beds in a mix of four-bedroom/two-bath suites, two-bedroom/one-bath suites, and two-bedroom/one-bath semi-suites.

The following February and October, the university engaged us to develop a space program and complete a financial analysis for a new on-campus dining facility in conjunction with the new housing project.  The university sought to alleviate some of the current capacity shortages in its union dining facilities and to accommodate additional demand from the new housing project.  We researched the anticipated customer base, meal plans, transactions history, and participation rates, and developed multiple draft programs for the new facility.  Also, a draft capital budget was developed based upon a proposed level of build-out quality.  The $30.25 million, 94,907 square foot Lincoln hall opened in August 2016 and features 350 beds and a 300-seat dining space.