The Importance of Renovating Student HousingCreating a #lit college experience

September 12, 2017 Class is Back in Session

It’s that time of year again… incoming freshman have packed their bags and are preparing for the next chapter: college. But what’s the one thing on their minds before making the big move? “I hope I don’t get that dorm.”

It is no secret that the majority of student housing across America has become mediocre, leaving students with limited choices when it comes to selecting where they will live. With a shift in demographics, wants, needs and desires, hundreds of campus dorms have not been updated or renovated to reflect the students of today.

So, what are students looking for in student housing?

Top 5 Perks Students Look For:
Community + School Spirit
Coolness Factor
Overall Experience
How can dated student housing buildings be more appealing?

It’s no secret that off-campus apartments are lining up to attract students with a growing list of amenities. So, how can on-campus student housing compete? One of the best, and fastest ways is through a refresh or renovation of existing buildings. The biggest advantage is that it’s also cost-effective. A recent study by Shawmut Design and Construction calculates that campuses can save 23 percent to 108 percent by renovating existing buildings, depending on the age of the structure, in comparison to a new building.

Not only will renovating save money, it will allow campuses to preserve their school’s storied history. Those stories have the potential to become the treasured content your interior and graphics design teams will utilize to connect your school’s brand while connecting it to the architecture of your space.

Having bright and newly renovated college housing makes that choice much easier. No apartment or shared house can provide me the same immersive experience that the dorms will.

– Berit Nuetzmann, College Freshman

Who is Gen Z Anyway?

Dimensional Innovations not only understands Gen Z, we work with them, some of us live with them, and we all create for them. When it comes to designing for the students of today it is important to understand their wants, needs, interests and behaviors to create a space that they actually want to live in.

Gen Z is the first group to have complete and easy access to the internet growing up. They spend the majority of their time communicating through their smart phones and using social media. Gen Z has a much shorter attention span and values spaces that are flexible and well-designed while also maintaining a sense of comfort.

When designing for students, DI will host a discovery session with active on-campus students and listen to their goals and vision for their spaces. After taking all the feedback and creating a branded design that combines the student’s desires with their current academia brand, we are able to create an immersive brand environment. The design not only brings life and color to the existing spaces, but is also versatile to work within multiple room settings such as lobbies, study halls, lounges, and hallway graphics.

Today’s student housing must truly strike the perfect balance of relaxation, technology, focus spaces, and entertainment to satisfy its occupants.

The dorms that had flexible spaces where I could hang out with friends, but also get work done in a cool setting really got me excited for college.

– Amy Dehart, College Senior

Show + Tell
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill recognized their opportunity to invest in new interior branding and bold graphic updates to encourage on-campus housing as well as instill campus pride. Dimensional Innovations refreshed a total of 31 residence halls over three phases to bring the UNC brand to life in a powerful, cost-effective way.

University of Kansas

Updated facilities give schools like The University of Kansas a recruiting edge with a long list of amenities. Dimensional Innovations was enlisted to design and fabricate the Jayhawk evolution wall, donor recognition for the basketball court, as well as provide vibrant graphics, a donor recognition wall in the lobby and interior and exterior signage.

In other residence halls at KU, DI took original art pieces in the space that were envisioned to capture the traditions which tie generations of Jayhawks to a lifetime of love and pride for the University of Kansas.

Forward Thinking

The wants and needs of students are always changing. Staying up with cultural trends, advancements in technology, and developing a flexible and adaptable brand will not future-proof your facility from needing periodic renovations, but it will put you ahead of the game.

Innovative ideas for the future of student housing are pulsing through our veins here at DI and it’s time that colleges and universities start to reimagine the possibilities of their living spaces through renovations and upgrades.

Students have choices when it comes to whether they want to live in student housing on or off-campus. We bring our experiential design approach to create fresh and innovative spaces, which drives the occupancy rate up. Student housing is no longer seen as just a place to study and sleep – it is huge part of the overall college experience. Our university and development partners are looking to DI to enhance existing spaces with remodels or refreshes.

– Brad Woods, DI Practice Director

Brad Woods

As a Practice Director with over 20 years of experience in business development and project management, Brad leads a team of expert designers, account managers and project managers. He has a diverse range of experience with clients in various market segments, including cinema, entertainment, retail, corporate, and collegiate student life. This wide-range of projects, allows him to make otherwise missed connections. For example, he’s able to pull key elements of an entertainment experience into re-thinking a traditional retail experience. Brad’s passion for creativity, cutting-edge research, technology and forward-thinking solutions is what drives him, and allows him to maintain long-term client relationships.

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