University Village Suites
HADP Architecture, Inc. - Atlanta
Project of Distinction Winner 2009 Education Design Showcase

Project Fact Sheet
Facility Use: College/University 4-Year Institution
Project Type: New Construction
Category: Residence Halls (College Only)
Location: Kennesaw, GA
District/Inst.: Kennesaw State University (KSU)
   Robert Heflin Real Estate Director, Kennesaw State University
Completion Date: July 2008
Design Capacity: 915 students
Enrollment: 19,100 students
Gross Area: 321,367 sq.ft.
Space per pupil: 351 sq.ft.
Site size: 3,443 acres
Cost per student: $50,121
Cost per sq.ft.: $143.14
Total project cost: $46,000,000
Building construction cost: $37,200,300
Site development cost: $1,418,120
Furniture & equipment cost: $2,386,960
Fees and other: $4,619,660
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University Village Suites - Kennesaw State University

A 330,000 square foot building, University Village Suites, adds 915 beds to Kennesaw State University’s existing 2,163-bed inventory. The suite-style apartments feature spacious private bedrooms, kitchenettes and shared bathrooms.

Project Goals and Visions

Kennesaw State University Foundation wanted more than just a student housing development when they selected University Housing Services to develop University Village Suites. They wanted an upscale freshman housing complex that would become the national standard by which student housing is measured. What they received was a beautiful living-learning community that promotes health, safety and energy efficiency.

The housing village concept was attempted at Kennesaw State University (KSU) in 2002, but the administration felt freshman had too much privacy and didn’t engage in socializing as much as they had hoped. Therefore, with this new village, KSU wanted to create several inviting areas that would encourage students to socialize and connect.

Unique Features & Innovations

The housing complex UHS designed consists of two-bedroom suites, sex-segregated by units. While freshman have their own bedrooms, they share a kitchenette and bathroom area.

With centralized support facilities, which include administrative offices, a computer lab, retail coffee shop, mail services and many community-gathering spaces, the central lobby is the heartbeat of the facility. Accentuated by the infusion of exterior light through the transparency created by the extensive use of glass, the atrium boasts an art gallery and exhibition space on the second floor that showcases artwork, including sculptures, created in conjunction with KSU educational programs.

There's a Jittery Joe's cafe in the lobby. Flat-screen TVs hang on the walls of game rooms and lounges throughout the building, and the four-story dorm and the green areas outdoors are wi-fi capable. Each floor has a laundry room, and the machines take cash cards. There’s also a large exercise room with state-of-the-art equipment.

The Planning Process

Collaboration between all team members was very productive from the onset of the project with the free flowing of ideas from all sides of the table. With less than 18 months to plan and construct this new facility, the entire team needed to work together seamlessly to make it happen. Under the leadership of UHS’ Executive Vice President, Bob Mills, all team members exhibited unprecedented motivation and professionalism to facilitate the success of this project.

A key marketing component for the Foundation included building a full-scale mock up of the most typical two-bedroom suite one year prior to opening day. This fully furnished model unit provided prospective students an opportunity to experience a life-size model of the space in which they would live.

The model unit also provided the following advantages:

  • Allowed critical review and comments from the development team members
  • Provided opportunities to change material selections and design
  • Enabled the administrative staff to gain a better understanding of what the final product would look and feel like

Environmental Considerations & Sustainability Measures

A national leader in the development of sustainable student housing, UHS worked closely with the KSU Foundation to identify the need for an environmentally sustainable design that complies with KSU’s five-year strategic plan, emphasizing environmental preservation and sustainability. This goal was accomplished by reducing the project’s use of non-renewable resources in order to minimize environmental impact.

By requiring the addition of features, which included the use of prefabricated structural wall panels, lumber from renewable sources and carpet made of recycled content, the project was able to realize a greatly reduced “carbon footprint” by lowering the quantity of generated construction debris. This reduction resulted in significantly eliminating the energy needed and pollution created to transport debris to landfills. In addition, many features were designed to enhance indoor air quality and reduce energy and water consumption. Energy reduction initiatives included HVAC controllers with limiting high-low set points, IP controlled HVAC in all public spaces, high-efficiency fluorescent fixtures, proximity sensors, electrical circuit timers, double-pane energy-efficient unit windows and ceiling fans. Water consumption reduction initiatives included high-efficiency toilets and reduced-flow shower heads and faucets. In addition, underground storm water structures allowed for conversion to a cistern, thus enabling the recapturing of rainwater for use as a water source for landscape irrigation.

The design of University Village Suites takes advantage of natural lighting throughout the facility. Every corridor and student meeting area benefit from natural lighting through large energy-efficient windows that promote both energy conservation and higher student productivity. As importantly, UHS placed a very high priority on limiting the “off-gassing” of volatile organic compounds (VOC) of all interior finishes, thereby immediately creating a living environment more conducive to learning.

Special Challenges & Solutions

University Village Suites’ site location posed many challenges due to the congested roads around the existing University Village Complex. The development team spent an enormous amount of time successfully planning various road closures and other intrusive work during weekends, nights and holidays to prevent further impacts to the pedestrian and vehicular flow on campus. 

Cost Effectiveness

In a highly competitive student housing market, UHS understands that on campus rents must compare favorably with off-campus rents in order for a facility to thrive. Therefore, UHS worked closely with HADP to design an efficient facility that not only met the budget but exceeded everyone’s expectations. The result was the completion of the student housing complex, ahead of schedule in mid July of 2008 with a final construction cost approximately 25 percent less than the national average cost for student residence halls of this size.

Safety & Security Considerations

The unique building design promotes resident security, while enhancing the development of the student community. By requiring residents to enter the facility through the three-story central lobby, all access into and out of the facility can be monitored easily by KSU staff. Its central core has been designed as a landmark, or beacon, to residents and clearly communicates a “point-of-arrival” to the facility.

How Education Programming Needs Were Achieved

University Village Suites has helped transform KSU by giving them a residential village where everything a student needs to live, learn and socialize can be found. University Village Suites serves as a model, both because of its beautiful architecture and sustainable design towards a healthier, safer and more energy-efficient environment. 









Project Description:
1) Control of Institution: Public
2) Type of Institution: Traditional


Methodology & Standards:
First-Cost; State Mandated Standards

Funding Method(s):
Primary Source: Primary Source: Revenue Bonds

Project Delivery Method(s):
Other (Developer)

Sustainable/Green Design:
Principles Followed: LEED
Site Selection and Development: Site Selection; Stormwater Management
Water Conservation: Water Conservation
Energy Efficiency and Conservation: Energy Efficiency; Building Automation/Energy Management Systems; Natural Ventilation
Materials Use: Recycling/Reuse; Sustainable Materials Selection
Indoor Environmental Quality: Use of Daylighting; Electric Lighting Systems/Controls; Acoustics


Associated Firms and Consultants:
Interior Design: Mark Williams Design Associates
General Contractor: Choate Construction (Willis Armstrong)
Structural Engineer: Structural Consulting Group
Electrical Engineer: Jordan & Skala Engineers, Inc.
Mechanical Engineer: Jordan & Skala Engineers, Inc.
Civil Engineer: EMC Engineering Services, Inc.
Other: Developer - University Housing Services, Inc. (Robert Tharpe, LEED AP, Project Manager); Signage (Exterior) - Identities Architectural Specialties, Inc.

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