Education P3s backed across US

The strength of the higher education market continues to ramp up as institutions across the US announce P3 deals.

On Thursday the P3 model was hailed separately by executives of higher education institutions in Texas, California and Illinois as further deals were unveiled.

The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) President Taylor Eighmy announced two request for qualifications (RFQ) are to be launched later this month as part of a wider strategic plan. 

The Roadrunner Village will see the construction of a vibrant neighborhood that includes housing, dining and retail space at the Main Campus, while Cattleman’s Square Residential Tower involves mixed-use residential facility to house UTSA’s growing population at the Downtown Campus.

Private partners for both deals are expected to be selected in spring 2019.  UTSA has 32,000 students enrolled.

In California Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) is currently examining the possibility of constructing student housing on its Santa Rosa campus, with the ultimate goal of offering rooms to students in Fall 2022.

At the October 2018 special meeting of the Board of Trustees, the college’s advisor, Scion, reported that there is sufficient demand from students to justify potentially providing housing with approximately 350 beds for students on the Santa Rosa campus and recommended a the utilization of a P3.

At the December 11 meeting, SRJC will ask the Board of Trustees to approve the release of a RFQ to begin the process of selecting a preferred P3 partner. A full request for proposal (RFP) process is expected in spring 2019.

President Frank Chong said that SRJC can be a leader in providing affordable housing in Sonoma County.

Meanwhile, the University of Illinois Board of Trustees on Thursday approved a request for increased state funding next year. The fiscal year 2020 budget request seeks $722.4m in capital funding.

Trustees authorized entering into external agreements to build the first new facilities in Urbana-Champaign “under a new financing model being used by universities around the country to support construction because public funding for capital projects has become more difficult to obtain”.

A new $75m instructional facility for the College of Engineering and a $20m research center focused on animal nutrition will be built through a P3. Baton Rouge-based Provident will finance construction through a tax-exempt bond issuance, and then lease the buildings to the university under a 30-year agreement. The 120,000 sq ft engineering building is scheduled to be completed in spring 2021 on the engineering quad, providing 27 classrooms and lecture halls. The 10-acre Feed Technology Center is scheduled for completion in spring 2020.

The U of I System’s first P3 project is currently under construction at University of Illinois at Chicago and includes a 10-story “living-learning center” with student housing, classrooms and retail space.

The statement by the U of I System notes “the P3 model was created to help universities add needed facilities that would have been stalled because they lack up-front financing”.

As previously reported  the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign awarded a P3 advisory contract to Johnson Consulting.