Colleges are facing the pressure to design and deliver a high-tech campus experience without going bankrupt. Here’s how they’re doing it.

Our cellphones, tablets, and cars aren’t the only once-simple items that now keep undergoing mind-blowing, technological upgrades. “Smart” technology is now something that has almost become expected in society – and its influence is spreading. So much so, in fact, that buildings, corporations, offices and more are looking to update their software, infrastructure, and even their furnishings to the latest and greatest, techy models.

The technology wave has even flooded over into the education field. Enter: the high-tech campus.

These days, colleges and universities around the nation have gone global, techy and digital with their academic, living, marketing programs, and more. Automation and artificial intelligence technologies are transforming manufacturing, corporate work and the retail business, providing new opportunities for companies to explore and posing major threats to those that don’t adapt to the times. Equally daunting challenges confront colleges and universities, but they’ve been slower to acknowledge them.

So, we find ourselves at the present moment – more and more university campuses are finding themselves faced with the pressure of designing and delivering a high-tech campus experience while leveling out (and even reducing) the costs to do so.

Is it possible? Well, the experts at Valbridge Property Advisors are here to explore just that.

The High-Tech Campus Craze

Colleges and universities are pressure by competiton from schools or training systems that have begun implementing online learning technology, smart building services, high-tech campus equipment, and so on. But even that is just one aspect of the technological changes already under way.

Think about it: The old-fashioned campus library that ­focused ­primarily on storing books, journals and ­periodicals has evolved. In its place, we’re now seeing high-tech campuses and open spaces for collaborative learning, whiteboards for taking notes and sharing ideas, and a plethora of other technological advancements.

When it comes to this library example, books are still vitally important, sure, but the many media options available now enhance learning and engage students, many of whom need help from the latest ­technology to better enjoy reading and writing their own stories. How do colleges keep up?

The Changing University Business Model

To ensure financial stability in an ever-evolving and competitive market, many colleges and universities are responding by experimenting with changes to their business models.

Historically, many of us advised institutions to “stay in their lane” meaning that they should stick with their institution’s main mission no matter how narrowly defined. The advice was just to execute better on what you were good at doing.

Today, most colleges with narrowly defined mission statements need to think very seriously about moving outside their lanes. There are some schools which have made very large changes to their business models and have recreated themselves as very different institutions from the way they began.

Some of the most prevalent and smaller scale changes to the business model include changes to pricing and discounting policies; additions of new programs and high-tech campus advancements and “makeovers” to increase institutional attractiveness, especially pre-professional programs; recruitment of new student populations including part-time, transfers, and international students, and so on.

Balancing Out the Costs

More and more institutions are considering resetting their prices (tuition, housing, education-per-credit, and so on) down. Many institutions are also partnering with third party providers to put programs on-line usually using revenue share agreements that minimize risk to the institution.

These changes often take an institution beyond its originally stated mission. The majority of the institutions which have been successful in increasing their revenue stream from students have broadened their missions and many have strayed far outside their initial lanes.

Acquiring What’s Necessary

Knowing the true value of something is more important than ever when it comes to the education field and can be more difficult to discern — especially in today’s highly scrutinized regulatory environment. Luckily, colleges and universities that are looking to advance along today’s tech without throwing their cost-benefit analysis out the window have the ability to partner up with a trusted property advisor to ensure that they are expanding and acquiring the most efficient campus spaces (that will also deliver the most bang for their buck).

It just so happens, too, that that’s our specialty at Valbridge!

Valbridge appraisers evaluate commercial property based on objective criteria, in-depth knowledge of local property markets and time-tested judgment. We identify and analyze the variables that affect value – in this case, especially tech-capabilities and location – often seeing what others don’t see based on our expertise and independence.

Why is this process important in the first place?

At Valbridge, we are committed to providing independent valuations and advise clients on real estate investment decisions. When it comes to campuses and universities, who often have to make very skilled and selective decisions concerning property investment, acquisition, and development/redevelopment.

Clients across the U.S. benefit from our collective strength, with more than 675 staff in over 80 office locations, and our dedication to elevating appraisal industry standards for accuracy, integrity, reporting, technology and data. Valbridge professionals can’t tell the future, but we’re trusted by clients to provide independent valuations and powerful insights for better business.

What this means for your university is that you will be able to rest assured knowing that you are getting the most valuable information, allowing you to make important campus investment decision with expert guidance. To learn more about advancing your university without succumbing to the many pressures of the market industry, reach out to the experts at Valbridge today!