Designing a Student Housing Building Today for Tomorrow’s Information Technology

Did you know that the average college student in 2022 brings to school more than five devices that either can or have the capability of connecting to wireless internet?  In 2010 that number was less than two and by 2025 experts expect that number to grow to just under ten.  With that in mind, I’m sure you can appreciate that planning for technology needs in buildings with 40, 50, 60 plus years of useful life is a challenging proposition and if not done at all, or even if done poorly, can lead to serious leasing and capex budgeting ramifications.  At Capstone we do our best to think ahead and plan today’s student housing projects for tomorrow’s students’ needs.

In the world of technology, to us, this means a lot of different things such as:

  • Including all inaccessible IT cabling and infrastructure in conduit and raceways so that once obsolete or outdated alternative wiring can be installed efficiently and without damage to existing finishes.
  • Installing a fiber backbone network in buildings that has capacity to distribute both wired and wireless internet service throughout for today’s requirements and can be increased without infrastructure modifications.
  • Selecting quality equipment and wireless access points (WAPs) and locating them appropriately for maximum efficiency while not causing interference with each other.
  • Creating strategic relationships with national service providers and specialty consultants so that efficiencies and project lessons learned can more easily “travel” from project-to-project.
  • Working with service providers to provide faster internet speed to the most popular content such as YouTube and Netflix.
  • Intentionally locating USP power receptacles for easy access to charge devices.

While all of the above can, and most of the time does, come at a cost premium, at Capstone we also look back, on a project-by-project bases, and ask ourselves if some of the old, more traditional technology infrastructure requirements like coax TV cabling, hardwired data drops and DOAS cell phone boosters are truly needed and if not, can they be eliminated. This thoughtful approach ensures that the student housing building that we are designing is current and with the times upon opening but also can be adapted and last well into the future.


Author: David Morrisey, Sr Construction Manager