Wayne State University

Detroit,

Student Center Feasibility Analysis

In 2006 Wayne State University engaged B&D, as part of a team with Moody-Nolan Architects and Partners in Architecture, to conduct a feasibility study for developing a new student center, or renovating the existing one. The goal was to identify demand for appropriately sizing program elements and to determine the level of student support for a new or improved facility. Our scope of work included a detailed market analysis via focus groups and a survey of students, faculty, and staff; a competitive analysis of peer institutions to identify strategic issues influencing the need for more contemporary student life facilities; and an assessment of the center’s existing conditions to uncover deficiencies in aesthetic quality, functional organization, technical capability, or quantity of spaces and amenities available. The market analysis showed support for large event, performance, meeting, social gathering, food, student organization, and student services spaces within a new student center building. The conceptual program included a ballroom more than double the existing space’s size, a coffeehouse with games and live performance space, more meeting rooms, significantly reconfigured foodservice, more student organization office space, and a significantly enhanced lounge space to foster opportunities for socializing, quiet study, and group study. Our financial analysis identified a mix of student fee revenue and retail service-generated revenue to support theoretical debt service and operating costs from estimates developed by our cost consultants and the university’s business services. As a result, the university moved forward with a $20 million renovation of the Student Center, which was completed in 2015.