University of Colorado Denver


Student Life Planning and Advisory Services

Brailsford & Dunlavey was engaged by the University of Colorado Denver as part of a team with SmithGroupJJR in the fall of 2016 to analyze the student life facility needs on the University’s Auraria campus. At the time, the only on-campus residential offering was Campus Village Apartments which offered bed space for over 685 residents, including students from Metropolitan State University and the Community College of Denver. Other campus life offerings included a union which was also shared with the same two institutions. The union was the central hub of activity and social gatherings offering a brewery, foodservice, retail, event spaces, meeting / study / lounge space, and offices. The University saw the need to enhance its student life offerings in order to attract and retain students and sought B&D’s advice on the optimal way to plan for, and bring to life, such improvements.

After conducting its proprietary Strategic Asset Value analysis with the University’s advisory committee, B&D formulated four outcome categories which formed the basis for its advisory services. The categories consisted of educational outcomes, enrollment management, campus community, and financial performance. Guided by these goals, B&D then conducted an off-campus housing market analysis, student focus groups, a student survey, and a housing demand analysis.

After evaluating the outcome of its analyses, B&D formulated a recommendation for student housing. The demand analysis showed an opportunity to provide a new first-time-student housing facility of approximately 410 semi-suite beds located near the core of the University’s neighborhood. This proposed facility would be ideal from a recruitment and retention standpoint, and would also provide first-year students with convenient access to student services and the under-construction student wellness center. In addition to this first-year facility, B&D’s demand analysis demonstrated a need for 1,130 beds of on-campus apartments for upper division and graduate students by 2025, which could be accommodated in a mixture of the Campus Village Apartments and new apartment facilities. It was B&D’s recommendation that the University also enhance its student community area by relocating offices from the union into other spaces across campus in an effort to open up the union and create a more vibrant student life community atmosphere. These improvements and additions would also help engage alumni and create donor opportunities, thus assisting the University with its ability to finance the recommended changes and differentiate itself from the competition.