Buffalo State College

Buffalo,

Student Housing Master Plan

In 2014 B&D, as part of a planning team led by Trudeau Architects, was engaged by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York to create a student housing master plan for SUNY’s Buffalo State College. The college’s housing program was unique among its SUNY peers, offering the system’s only urban campus setting. The school’s 11 residence halls had a capacity of 2,619 beds, but a recent and ongoing surge in enrollment had driven the average occupancy rate to 105%. As a result, college officials sought a master plan that would address housing demand while being financially feasible. Our work plan consisted of focus groups with key stakeholders among faculty, staff, and students; a web-based student survey; and a competitive analysis of 18 peer institutions, 30 off-campus properties, and five purpose-built housing projects. Additionally, a demand-based model was created to quantify unmet housing demand. The analyses revealed conservative demand for 295 beds of on-campus housing, culminating in the generation of five strategic student housing goals: meet demand, modernize, expand programming, diversify dining, and be mindful of financials. To meet demand, our team recommended that the college repurpose Bishop Hall, a former residence hall that had long been used as academic offices, into housing for first-year students. Also, a series of phased modernization projects were recommended for all residence halls, which would improve mechanical systems and bathrooms, increase community space, and address life-safety issues.