Capital Planning & Budget



Report of the UW System Housing Working Group

April 7, 2005






Last year several student residential projects proposed by UW System institutions raised new questions within the Department of Administration, the state Building Commission, and the Board of Regents.  In response, a special working group was formed to evaluate current policies and practices within the UW System related to student residential facilities.


The working group was requested to address at least two critical issues as requested by the state Building Commission, students, and legislators, and to develop student housing standards.  The two issues include the following:


1.      Design Standards.  The national and UW trend in residence hall design is toward more "suite-style" housing.  The scale and scope of new residence halls has been the subject of debate in recent project approvals.  Some policy makers suggest that the UW System continue to build more traditional and less expensive facilities such as those built in the 1960’s.  State Building Commission members requested that the UW System and Board of Regents review this issue and develop standards in this area. 

2.       The fee structure for new and remodeled space.  Building Commission members have struggled with some recent fee structure proposals that have been advanced to support new construction and renovations.  Commission members have asked that the UW System and Board of Regents review fee structure standards particularly for housing that is more expensive than traditional style housing.  In doing so the following questions should be addressed: 
Should students living in new and renovated space pay significantly higher fees than older facilities?  Does that fee structure result in economic segregation among students?  Should fees be more uniform, resulting in students living in lower quality space subsidizing others?

The working group met in person on November 11, 2004 to kickoff its work by examining two models of design and fees at UW-Madison and UW-La Crosse.  The group defined the direction for the issues to be explored and began drafting background materials and proposals to address the critical questions. 


The group met by teleconference on January 27, 2005 to review proposal drafts and discuss alternatives.  Further guidance and information were given to focus the group’s efforts and volunteers agreed to refine draft proposals.


The group met by teleconference on February 22, 2005 and refined the discussion draft.  The final proposal was reviewed by the group and is recommended as operational policy for the UW System Office of Capital Planning and Budget.  The policy is intended to guide the UW System institutions and the Office of Capital Planning and Budget in the planning and recommendation of residential facilities.


Student Housing Standards Proposal


The Housing Working Group recommends that the UW System Administration adopt several types of student housing as general standards.  Future new construction and major renovations of residential facilities at UW System campuses will typically resemble one of these types. 


When an institution needs to vary from these standards, a justification should be included in the project request submitted to the UW System Office of Capital Planning and Budget.  If acceptable, the justification will be included in the project request presented to the Board of Regents and the state Building Commission.


Space allocations in UW System residence facilities will be guided by accepted published national standards such as the Postsecondary Education Facilities Inventory and Classification Manual, research published by the Association of College and University Housing Officers-International, and other applicable higher education professional organizations.  The purpose of planning is to ensure that campus housing reflects national trends and standards to maintain UW institutions’ competitiveness.


UW System institutions are expected to involve a wide range of stakeholders in developing housing plans including, students, and staff.  Plans are expected to reflect the long range needs of students to support living and learning environments. 



Housing Types


Type 1 – The majority of rooms are double occupancy with common bathrooms on each floor.  This is the most common type of housing in the system, built primarily in the 1950’s and 1960’s.


Type 2 – The majority of rooms are double occupancy with multiple bathrooms per floor shared among a group of students.  Bathrooms are accessible either internally between rooms or externally from the hallway.  Examples: UW-Parkside, Ranger Hall 1997;

UW-Madison, Park Street 2006; and UW-Madison, Dayton Street 2007.


Type 3 – This style of housing provides small single or double occupancy rooms with shared bathrooms, living area and kitchen or kitchenette.  These units are typically built in residence hall type buildings.  This is the most common type of housing built in the last five years. Examples:  UW-Eau Claire, Chancellors Hall, 2000; UW-Milwaukee, Sandburg Hall 2002; UW-Stout, 2005; UW River Falls, 2005; UW-La Crosse, 2006; and UW-Green Bay, 2002, 2003, and 2004.


Type 4 – This style of housing primarily serves graduate students or upperclassmen.  The housing can range from studio to multiple bedroom apartments where either a single person or whole family can live. Examples: UW Madison-Eagle Heights;

UW-Milwaukee, Kenilworth 2008



Student Involvement


Students will have significant involvement in the planning and development of residence halls construction project and fee structure proposals.  Although the nature of student involvement may vary by institution, it will be incumbent upon the proposing institution to develop a process for student involvement.  This process should include involvement from the appropriate student governance groups.  The description of the scope and nature of student involvement should be included as part of any residence hall project and fee structure proposal submitted to the Office of Capital Planning and Budget and will be an important component in its review and approval process.



Funding Structures Using Student Fees


There are three basic methods of assessing residence hall fees for new construction and major renovations.


  1. Assigning the full cost of improved facilities to the residents of that facility only.
  2. Spreading the cost of improved facilities across all students living in residential facilities.
  3. Spreading a portion of the cost of improvements across all students living in residential facilities while assessing the majority of cost to the residents of the improved facility.


Each UW System campus is unique and the current housing costs, occupancy rates, availability of off-campus housing, and other factors should be carefully considered when assessing the costs of residential facility improvements.


Each request document for new housing or major renovations should include a section describing the resulting fee impact and a justification of how that fee structure was determined.



Housing Working Group Membership



David Miller, Assistant Vice President for Capital Planning and Budget

Larry Rubin, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs


Paul Evans, UW-Madison                    Jeff Janz, UW-Whitewater

Elliott Garb, UW-Oshkosh                   Petra Roter, UW-La Crosse

Andy Soll, UW-Eau Claire                   Andy Richards, UW-Milwaukee

Doug Stephens, UW-Platteville Maura Donnelly, UW System

Mark Dethardt, UW-Waukesha           David Glisch-Sanchez, United Council