University of Houston-Clear Lake


Student Housing Feasibility Assessment

In the spring of 2016, when the University of Houston-Clear Lake wanted a detailed assessment of student demand for housing on its campus, it engaged Brailsford & Dunlavey to strategically examine the characteristics of campus demographics, the off-campus market, and student preferences for new housing. The University did not provide any on-campus housing at the time, but worked in partnership with an off-campus student-focused apartment community to provide accommodations for its students, including a dedicated community for freshmen. As part of its mission, the University sought to provide a more residential academic experience that would help to attract new students and retain existing ones.

The following elements made up the work plan established by B&D for this project:

• A demographic analysis to assess student enrollment trends and projections
• Focus group and stakeholder interviews to qualitatively understand student housing preferences
• An off-campus housing market analysis to assess the local housing market and typical price points
• A student survey to quantify preferences for housing amenities and unit types
• A demand analysis to quantify bed demand for the proposed housing project, based on data collected from the student survey.
• A financial assessment of the proposed project to determine its financial feasibility
• A support facility analysis to understand the ancillary impacts of housing on a variety of campus resources and services

B&D recommended the University proceed with its new student housing project, using a ‘mixed-fill’ approach for a proposed 300-bed facility, which would allow junior and senior students to live in the new residence hall along with freshmen and sophomores until enrollment produced the intended mix of just freshmen and sophomores. B&D also presented several next steps to ensure any new housing project would meet the University’s mission and aspirations. These steps included a detailed assessment of the proposed residential dining program to support seven-days-a-week service, creation of a detailed housing master plan, and integration of that plan into the overall campus master plan to highlight the key impacts of housing on the student experience, support facilities, enrollment management, and campus community development. Additionally, B&D recommended the University revisit housing demand after the initial project completed two years of operation to understand any potential demand or service changes needed at that time.