Have colleges/universities gone too far with "quality of life" buildings?

November 12, 2012 |
Rob Cassidy

We'd like your input - recent projects, photo/s, renderings, and expert insight - on an important article we're working on for our Jan 2013 issue:

HIGHER EDUCATION: Residence Halls, Student Unions, and ‘Quality of Life’ Factors in the Halls of Ivy

With total costs exceeding $50,000 at many colleges/universities, and with U.S. student debt nearing $1 trillion, will institutions be forced to cut back on "quality of campus life" buildings: residence halls that rival the Ritz, student unions and refectories that go well beyond the basics of bed and board, recreation centers that may seem over the top in their amenities? What about other "quality of campus life" buildings?
We're not talking about basic classroom, science & technology, or administrative buildings here. We're interested in those structures that are not, strictly speaking, essential to the curriculum or administration of the institution - those facilities that serve to enhance the "quality of campus life."
The essential question: Have colleges and universities gone too far with these structures? Or does competition for top students, institutional pride, or some other factor make it essential that institutions of higher learning keep raising the bar? And who's going to pay for these facilities?
Please also let Susan know the name and contact info (email, phone, office location) of your top expert on higher-ed facilities.
Deadline: Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, we'd like to get these materials by Friday, Nov 16, if possible.
Thanks for your help.
Rob Cassidy | Building Team Blog

Rob Cassidy (“ClimateGrouch”) is editorial director of Building Design+Construction. A city planner, he is the author of several books, including “Livable Cities,” and was a co-founder of the Friends of the Chicago River.

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