Converse College

Spartanburg,

Student-Housing Strategic Planning & Public-Private Partnership (P3) Advisory Services

In the fall of 2015, Converse College engaged Brailsford & Dunlavey to perform a student housing market analysis for a potential new student housing development on the College’s Spartanburg, South Carolina, campus. The project was to be the next in a string of residential life improvements that were identified as a part of the College’s 2008 Housing Master Plan, which was also completed by B&D.
The overarching theme of Converse’s Housing Master Plan was to position the College’s housing inventory to support the institution’s broader student development initiatives. Referring to it as a “progressive housing system,” Converse spent the better part of the past decade making enhancements to its residential experience in a manner that provided developmentally-appropriate living environments for its students. The addition of this current project, envisioned as full suites, would effectively complete the College’s “progressive housing system” and provide students with a more independent living environment than what was available to them as freshmen or sophomores.
The methodologies deployed by B&D during the planning process included:

• An Internet-based survey to assess current housing patterns and students’ preferences for future housing
• A housing demand assessment using survey responses and projected enrollment figures
• Space programming to translate demand findings into a project concept
• A financial analysis to quantify the relationship between revenues, expenses, and debt obligations to clarify the project’s required financial parameters

Stemming from the analysis, B&D recommended that the College pursue development of a new 120-bed residence hall in a full-suite configuration to simultaneously respond to market demand and support the College’s residential life objectives. The $10.2 million project began construction in July 2016 through a public-private partnership between Converse and a national 501(c)3 foundation―National Campus and Community Development. The project will be delivered in time for the 2017 / 2018 school year.