University of Idaho


Student Union Financial Analysis And Design Review

In 1997 the University of Idaho engaged B&D to review the financial projections and design for its University Commons building. At that time, the project was in the initial design phase, and the university wanted input into the overall building design, its potential impact on the financial performance of the building, and a preliminary projected financial operating plan for the building. Our scope of work included a review of the project history and “mission” of the Commons; an analysis of its development budget; a review of the finances of the bookstore and foodservice operations; and a review of design drawings. We solicited input on various issues from students, faculty, and staff, as well as directors and staff of several comparable student unions. We found that the design of the University Commons provided a student-oriented hub of campus activity. The building was designed to house a variety of offices for student activities and student services as well as food vendors, convenience-oriented retail, and student gathering places. The university wanted to develop the new student center to be not merely a transplanted shopping mall food court, but rather a campus center with a main circulation corridor through the building incorporating food vendors without creating a “mall” atmosphere. Our design review and analysis yielded a number of suggestions to improve the financial performance and overall function of the building and maintain its consistency with the university’s greater mission. The 89,000 SF, $21.5 million Idaho Commons opened in March 2010.