Montana Tech


Living-Learning Student Housing Feasibility Assessment

In 2012 and 2014 occupancy at Montana Tech’s housing was near 100% with over 10% of its 2,800 students choosing to live on campus. Waiting lists continued to increase, while housing capacity both on- and off-campus remained stagnant. In light of these developments, and in an effort to recruit and retain its student population, Montana Tech officials engaged B&D in 2015 to complete a programming and viability analysis for a potential new on-campus residential and learning facility. The goal of the facility was not only to provide additional housing capacity, but also to foster a stronger sense of student life on campus.

Our approach included:

• A strategic visioning session with relevant stakeholders to gain consensus on the project’s goals and objectives.
• Focus group interviews to qualitatively assess impressions of housing and living-learning program elements.
• An off-campus market analysis to understand the local housing and conference center markets.
• A student survey to quantify preferences for housing and support spaces.
• A demand analysis to quantify bed needs.
• A financial analysis to identify project and operating costs.

The study revealed demand for an additional 729 beds, and interest in living on campus was high across all class levels. Further findings uncovered demand for an on-campus event space that would support a banquet/ballroom for both on- and off-campus use, and living-learning spaces. We recommended developing a 159,000 GSF facility with a residential portion that would include 349 beds in double-occupancy semi-suites and single-occupancy full suites, administrative offices, a laundry room, study lounges, social lounges, computer stations, and an instructional kitchen. The living-learning portion of the facility would feature 63,000 GSF of flexible space along with foodservice, study lounges, office space, multipurpose rooms, and a divisible ballroom accommodating up to 500 seats. The financial analysis projected a total cost of $38.1 million for the proposed facility. We also presented several funding options.