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Even in difficult economic times, colleges and universities continue to invest in residence hall construction projects as a way to attract new students and keep existing ones on campus.
According to data from American School & University's 20th annual Residence Hall Construction Report, the median new project completed in 2008 was less expensive than the previous year in both total cost and cost per resident, and provided fewer total square feet. Although smaller in total size, new housing facilities accommodated more residents than those projects completed the year before, resulting in fewer square feet per student.
Data collected from 23 new residence hall projects completed in 2008 follow. Among the findings: the median new residence hall completed in 2008 was 60,000 square feet (down from 69,125 square feet in 2007) and accommodated 242 residents at a total cost of $8.5 million (compared with 204 residents and $11 million the year before).
Although the percentage of single-sex facilities and other specialized arrangements (such as housing for couples and families) increased from the year before, co-educational facilities remain the predominant type of new residence hall (68 percent).
With regard to financing new residence hall construction, a growing trend seems to be individual colleges/universities working in conjunction with private firms. Of those projects completed in 2008, 39 percent were paid for by a combination of institutional and private financing (compared with 16.6 percent in 2007).
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. For additional data, see the "Web Exclusive" area for exclusive data not found in the print version on residence hall construction expenditures, amenities and trend information for the past decade.