Georgia Southern University

Savannah, Georgia

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Georgia Southern University (Georgia Southern) is situated on the Atlantic coast and rests on a beautiful 268-acre arboretum campus in Savannah, Georgia.

Georgia Southern University is a teaching-centered and student-focused institution, providing diverse learning experiences and professional programs grounded in the liberal arts. Recently, Georgia Southern embraced a “Start Strong, Finish Strong” campaign to support enrollment and student persistence. As part of the 65 year 9-university partnership with the University System of Georgia (USG), Georgia Southern University can focus solely on its new marketing and engagement plan and ultimately achieve their goal of encouraging Georgia Southern students to live on campus.

Within this Partnership, Corvias assumed the management and operations of three of the University’s resident communities encompassing 1,247 beds.The current student housing was modern, maintained, and designed to meet the students’ needs, however the campus needed deferred maintenance. Corvias addressed all deferred maintenance, performing more than $826,856 in capital  improvements to make existing on-campus housing more modern, safe, functional, and appealing to students.

Corvias’ design, construction, maintenance, and technology teams conducted programming meetings with Georgia Southern personnel to generate and prioritize a list of capital improvement expenditures for the campus. During the programming meetings, Corvias asked Georgia Southern focus teams to define the current purpose and historic usage of existing spaces, as well as envision how they would like the facilities to function moving forward. Because of the collaboration, more than 25 projects were completed on campus to address deficiencies, improve security, increase building performance and efficiency, upgrade technology, modernize the facilities to a consistent standard, and most importantly, improve the quality of life for Georgia Southern students.

Funds were used to replace or improve HVAC systems, failing water heaters, or appliances and countertops in apartment-style units with kitchens. Numerous aesthetic upgrades were also completed, including more than $370,000 in exterior stucco and façade repairs and interior and exterior paint, which required lead-based paint testing on existing surfaces in some buildings.  Corvias also renovated the Community Center and replaced furniture in common areas and certain student residences that had exceeded its useful life. All new furniture packages are easy to move and reconfigure to accommodate multiple intended uses.

Corvias collaborates with the University Housing Director daily, working together they are able to keep all goals aligned and communication open. Once a month a formal P3 meeting is held, with the Corvias operations manager, the housing director, the facility manager, the campus finance liaison, and the local police representative. The monthly meeting is a full review of the partnership programs status, a review of the partnership finances, a review of key campus issues, and a review of campus safety. These meetings foster complete transparency between all parties involved in the partnership.  

Within our Partnership Georgia Southern and Corvias have a joint governance structure, ensuring program flexibility and aligned interest. Georgia Southern and Corvias have a collaborative approach to roles and responsibilities creating an efficient working partnership. To support the partnership for the long-term, Corvias has established sufficient reserves to ensure Georgia Southern's housing is devoid of deferred maintenance and always in quality condition. In addition to standard operating reserves, Corvias establishes a robust capital repair and replacement program as well as a dedicated program reinvestment reserve.

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This allows for a comprehensive approach to lifecycle management as well as a long-term development plan, eliminating deferred maintenance across the campus’ housing inventory.  With each renovation or replacement, Corvias and Georgia Southern can ensure the housing program meets the ever-changing needs of the University and its future students, while offering continuously modern and marketable facilities. Because of this, Georgia Southern does not need to invest any additional funds into the program for the full 65-year term to update and maintain its housing, resulting in the ability to focus its capital to other needs and priorities on campus.

At Georgia Southern, Corvias realizes that the work they are doing is to build a community not just maintain buildings. Through our work with Georgia Southern the Corvias team cultivated a strong relationship built on trust and mutual respect, and in January 2016, Corvias’ team at Georgia Southern was added to the Georgia Southern Housing and Resident Life staff webpage. Corvias team members now make up more than half of the entire Georgia Southern Resident Life staff and are an integral part of the campus community. To the Corvias team being part of the community means taking care of those around you, the clearest example of a way they do this is the annual holiday dinner thrown for students who can’t make it home for the holidays. The first year Corvias assumed operations of the dorms the team noticed a lot of students remaining on campus for the holiday season, thinking no one should be alone for the holidays the team got together and organized a potluck dinner for the students. The first year was a much-appreciated success and is now a holiday tradition