Wayne State University


Student Center Feasibility Study Update

In a follow-up to a 2006 student center feasibility study, Brailsford & Dunlavey was selected by Wayne State University in 2011 to update that analysis. The existing student center served the needs of the campus and surrounding community. However, recognizing its limitations, the university sought to understand what renovations could provide dynamic spaces that would respond to users’ needs. Our work plan included the following approach: a strategic asset value analysis “visioning” session to create a strategic context for analyzing data; student focus groups to gain qualitative information regarding campus life and preferences; an Internet-based student survey to test student demand and quantify student center usage and preferences; and a model to project demand utilization for student center facilities. We determined that the strategic vision for the center would be best served by renovating the existing facility to augment its ability to support student organizations, programming, and activities, and provide daily amenities and informal socialization areas. Through our demand-based programming analysis, we examined each type of center activity, outlining specific quantities of space to be provided to most effectively accommodate student demand. We then prioritized these spaces based on identified preferences, highlighting peak demand and recommended peak accommodations for each venue. As a result, the university moved forward with a $20 million renovation of the Student Center, which was completed in 2015.