All across the country colleges have been prioritizing the physical development of their campus as a strong selling point for prospective students. Many universities allocate considerable amounts of money toward amenities in hopes of persuading more students that that school stands superior to others. While schools in Boston have taken to this trend, they have also rejected the luxury aspect and instead focus on the academic benefits.
In 1996, American colleges spent about $6 billion on construction projects, whereas in 2014 the budget spiked to $15 billion. College campuses have evolved from standard dorms and classrooms into more resort-like empires with state-of-the-art dining halls, fitness and recreation centers, and other facilities that shine as tokens across the country. The goal is to appeal to the millions of prospective students that visit and tour these colleges every year, hoping to hear how each school stands out from the rest. This competitive nature fuels colleges’ desire to appear valuable and prestigious, offering the newest and best amenities.
“It’s all about the amenities. All these kids are looking for common spaces to connect with each other.” -Sean Edwards, VP of operations at Suffolk Construction
Several schools in the South, such as the University of Missouri and Louisiana State University, have taken on massive development projects that reflect country club style amenities. Planning to construct lazy rivers, beach clubs, hot tub grottoes and more, these schools dedicate great effort toward these financially and physically demanding facilities.
Unlike other universities, the schools in Boston have been focusing on the development of housing, academic buildings, and residential life experience for their students. In a cramped and expensive city like Boston, there may not always be room to fit in an aquatic resort; however, prioritizing better housing proves as a way many Boston colleges are looking to expand.
Specifically, MIT aims to invest in their undergraduate and graduate students to ensure an overall enhanced experience, working to provide about 1,200 beds through the construction of new buildings and renovations. This consideration held by MIT and the other Boston universities exhibits an academically driven focus that prioritizes the ability of students to focus and learn above all else.