California State Polytechnic University, Pomona


Student Housing Master Plan, Feasibility Study, And Market Study Updates

In 2009 California State Polytechnic University Pomona had freshman housing that had been built in the 1960s and 70s. The university knew it needed a master housing plan to meet its growing enrollment and remain competitive, and asked B&D to provide that plan. We held focus groups and interviews that highlighted the major issues—outdated housing, lack of student weekend activities, and a general lack of residential life activities. Our survey then gave us quantitative information that outlined specific desired configurations. A comprehensive integrated financial model was built to analyze the feasibility of meeting the university’s goals and commitments. In the end, we recommended creating new housing for the freshmen, replacing the traditional facilities with contemporary ones that highlighted the school’s unique academic programs. The new 1,600-bed complex would be located closer to the campus core and would create the vibrant community the students sought.

In 2013 the university retained us to update our 2009 market analysis and to give a final recommendation on whether there remained sufficient demand to move forward with constructing the first phase of a residential complex for first-year students. We completed an off-campus housing market analysis, a series of focus groups to qualitatively assess students’ housing needs, and a survey to quantify student preferences for unit configurations, amenities, and rental rates. We then developed a demand analysis that quantified student demand for specific unit types. The analysis revealed demand for 2,077 new beds, leading us to recommend that the University proceed with the first phase of new housing.

Due to an unexpected drop in first-year enrollment during the fall of 2015 and concerns over potential future occupancy shortfalls, the university engaged us in 2015 to update our 2013 Housing Demand Analysis to validate the construction of first-year residence halls. Methodologies employed consisted of an analysis of historical occupancy and enrollment, an off-campus market analysis, an update of our proprietary demand-based programming model, and a capture rate analysis to evaluate potential occupancy. As the university continues with developing this housing, we recommended it consider:

• Developing a rigorous recruitment plan to attract and enroll the same—or a greater—number of students as existed in the fall of 2014 to create the best possible demand for new housing.
• Integrating information and occupancy preferences from the previous student survey to create a bed portfolio matched to demand.
• Creating a flexible plan to potentially close or reduce occupancy in a number of existing residence halls to house the appropriate number of first-year students, depending on enrollment.