Georgia State University
Georgia State University (GSU) is centered in the historic financial hub of downtown Atlanta, providing more than 50,000 students with unsurpassed connections to the city’s business, government, nonprofit and cultural organizations. The growth and development of GSU’s campus has been a catalyst for downtown development and recognized by civic leaders as essential to increasing the vitality of downtown Atlanta. A driving factor in GSU’s success is their groundbreaking approach to the University’s persistency problem. In the last decade, GSU has raised its graduation rate by 22%, the most dramatic increase of any national university. As one of nine institutions included in Corvias’ 65-year partnership with the University System of Georgia (USG) Corvias was excited to partner with GSU to design build and manage the new building which was constructed in the spirit of proactively increasing accessibility for students when and where they need it most.
Downtown Atlanta is a metropolitan location with high density, high-volume traffic, and urban amenities students desire fluid access to. Corvias’ housing partnership with GSU was designed with these conditions in mind, providing GSU students access to the city’s services while ensuring that the new development conforms to Atlanta master-plan requirements. This new community helps to centralize the campus core and enhance connectivity between the residence hall, classrooms, and recreational venues, while also strengthening the students and campus’ relationship with Atlanta.
Working together with GSU, Corvias designed and constructed 1,152 new beds in the new residence building, Piedmont Central (Piedmont), comprised of primarily of either two-bedroom semi-suites with shared sleeping areas or two-bedroom suites with private sleeping areas. Both the two-person and four-person unit style contain a shared bathroom. The new residence hall contains office and storage space, community kitchens and laundry rooms, state-of-the-art social spaces for activities and collaboration, and a 15,239 SF dining hall on the ground level. The new dining hall provides GSU’s students with a large, accessible, and comfortable area to gather, eat, enjoy time with friends, and engage with the campus community. The retail/mixed-use space encompasses a dining hall with multiple dining options, food vendor and cash-management areas, and dining-operations and management space.
In keeping with GSU’s goal of being Georgia Peach Certified, Piedmont implemented the use of LED lighting technology, working with Georgia Power Co. to qualify for discounted educational utility rates, and through utilizing Corvias’ national purchasing power the partnership was able to achieve a 3.3% reduction in operating cost. It is through innovative practices such as this that Corvias is able to save the University money and also achieve the project goal of meeting Georgia Peach Green Rating System, (2) Peach Certification Level requirements.
Corvias didn’t partner with GSU to design build and leave, the partnership was cultivated and created to last for generations to come. Through open communication, including daily interaction, and weekly meetings between the Corvias team and GSU, the partnership will grow to meet the advancing needs of the University. Within our Partnership GSU and Corvias have a joint governance structure, ensuring program flexibility and aligned interest. GSU and Corvias have a collaborative approach to roles and responsibilities creating an efficient working partnership. To support the program for the long-term, Corvias has established sufficient reserves to ensure GSU’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. 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 GSU can ensure the housing program meets the ever-changing needs of the College and its future students, while offering continuously modern and marketable facilities. Because of this, GSU 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.
Corvias isn’t only partnering with GSU but also with its students. Corvias recognizes that students call the campus their home and their voice should count when making campus decisions about how their community will be shaped. At GSU Corvias has attended the Student Housing Committee meetings to answer questions about Campus housing and to hear requests for improvements. One such request was for 24-hour maintenance. The Corvias team reviewed the budget and discussed it with the University, to see what could be done. It was decided that 24-hour seven day a week maintenance was not needed but maintenance was increased to seven days a week from 6:00-3:00.