Leaders at Texas' preeminent HBCU describe how full privatization of the university's housing system was made possible through a committed partnership that began in 1996 and continues to thrive today.

Prairie View A&M University

American Campus’ partnership with Prairie View A&M University began in 1996 with the opening of the first phase of the University Village apartment community. Within two years, ACC had completed almost 2,000 beds totaling more than $33 million in development at the campus located about an hour’s drive from Houston.

With three successful phases of student apartments completed at Texas’ leading Historically Black College/University (HBCU), university leaders approached ACC with a bold vision for fully privatizing the university’s housing system. Having been designated by the state of Texas as one of three "institutions of the first class," the university had a mandate to dramatically expand its educational programs, and while doing so raise retention rates among freshmen students. 

University leaders developed a vision for an academically geared living-learning environment that would help guide students through the transition of beginning college and equip them with the tools for continued academic success.

To fully realize their vision of preparing incoming students for academic excellence, university administrators believed a purposeful design of its housing facilities was critical to promoting a focus on academic success. ACC began work to provide the integral piece of the university’s vision, and in doing so undertook full privatization of the school’s housing system.

In 2000, ACC and Prairie View A&M opened the first phase of University College as fulfillment of the educators’ goals for a living-learning environment that would bolster retention of students after their first year at the university. This project was designed specifically around the needs of a unique living-learning model to enhance the retention and academic program initiated by the PVAMU Academy for Collegiate Excellence and Student Success (ACCESS) program. 

The project is managed on a day-to-day basis by a joint ACC/Prairie View team (Prairie View A&M manages the residence life and student counseling program). The University College program is reflected in the building configurations, the assignments of staff and RA ratios and the community center, which features meeting rooms, a technology lab, wellness center, community theater, academic advising center and 14 residence hall buildings of 102 students each. This model necessitates close cooperation on all aspects of operations, including staffing, leasing, judicial affairs and various other issues.

“It has given opportunity to some students who don’t think they have what it takes to be successful,” said retired Lt. Col. Mark Pearson, a director of enrollment management who serves as a counselor at University College. “If they are just in a caring environment, folks can show them you not only can do this, but we’re going to be a partner with you in this process. We’re going to get you through this freshmen year.”

The ACC-Prairie View partnership continued to thrive into its second decade of existence, resulting in a sixth phase of student apartments opening in 2011 and plans for additional developments in the future.

“We take partnerships very seriously, … in getting involved with ACC very early, and watching them grow into the company that they are now, I think we are a model place for them,” said Fred Washington, vice president of administration and auxiliary services. “They’re embedded in just about everything that we do, and not just because they’ve been here since 1996, but because they are part of the family and a part of the community.”

ACC and Prairie View A&M’s relationship continues to grow and strengthen through a solid working partnership in the areas of management services and new student housing developments to meet the needs of this prestigious HBCU.
 
Prairie View A&M – Six completed phases on three sites
 
Phases I–III
PVAMU’s Goal: Improve student housing accommodations and provide management services through a privatized model.
 
ACC’s Solution: Delivery of three phases of student apartments in two- and four-bedroom configurations totaling 1,920 beds. Phase I: 672 beds. Phase II: 648 beds. Phase III: 600 beds.
 
Financing: Conventional leasehold mortgage with ground lease
 
Development Budget:
Phase I: $10.2 million
Phase II: $10.6 million
Phase III: $12.5 million
 
Opened: August 1996, 1997 and 1998
 
Phases IV–V
PVAMU's Goal: Create a living-learning environment that helps incoming students make the transition to college life and, in turn, improve the university's freshmen retention rate.
 
ACC’s Solution: Development of University College – a 14-building, 1,470-bed complex at the campus core that is uniquely configured, programmed and managed to meet the needs of freshmen residents.
 
Financing: Conventional leasehold mortgage with ground lease
 
Development Budget:
Phase IV: $19.5 million
Phase V: $4.1 million
 
Opened: Fall 2000, Fall 2003
 
Phase VI
PVAMU's Goal: Create additional upper division housing to keep up with the demands of a growing enrollment.
 
ACC’s Solution: Introduced new product type with increased privacy in four-bedroom unit with private bathrooms.
 
Financing: American Campus Equity (ACE®) program
 
Development Budget: $5 million
 
Opened: Fall 2011
 
 
Total
Gross Square Footage Developed: 876,420
 
Total Development Cost: $62 million (3,534 beds)

University College

University College

University View

University View

University Village

University Village

University College

University College