Atlanta — Academic Impressions recently held its Financing Campus Facilities symposium in Atlanta. The opening workshop, given by Cecil Phillips, chairman and CEO of Atlanta-based Place Properties, focused on the need for public-private partnerships (so called P3 structures) among universities to develop new buildings on-campus. Phillips walked attendees through the history of the P3 to more modern uses today. He also focused on sources of private capital, such as banks and government programs, and new sources of public capital, such as Build America bonds, part of Congress's stimulus package. Phillips pointed out the need for P3s in the case of student housing for many universities. At many colleges, many dorms built before 1992 are not compliant with the American With Disabilities Act (ADA). Making these projects ADA compliant could cost a university hundreds of millions of dollars. Sometimes, said Phillips, starting over with a private developer or having a private developer modernize and operate the dorms under a P3 might be a more viable option for an institution. Phillips also touched on the future of P3. With more colleges and universities run by chancellors and presidents recruited from the business world, he said, look for university systems to get more savvy with how they finance and grow facilities.
— Randall Shearin