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RISE: Raising the Standard for Higher Education Facilities

May 1, 2013

RISE understands the importance of delivering facilities that improve on-campus living and contribute to the educational mission and style of its higher education clients. RISE works with both private and public institutions, utilizing a highly interactive approach based on extensive feedback from students, clients and stakeholders during the project’s initial development. This ensures RISE identifies every project’s core goals early on and helps the team to navigate the challenges of designing, financing and constructing a suitable facility without sacrificing on quality craftsmanship or a timely completion.

RISE is also one of just a handful of companies in the campus development niche with the ability to work nationwide, utilizing a core team of 14 professionals located in one Valdosta, Ga., office. The lion’s share of RISE’s portfolio is peppered across the Sunbelt and the Mid-Atlantic regions, and the team is currently working on deals in Indiana, Pennsylvania and Oklahoma.

“Our tenure in this highly specialized niche, our professional reputation in the industry, and the relationships that result are what sets us apart from competitors,” asserts Charles Perry, managing partner at RISE.

RISE focuses primarily on student housing communities, though the company has shifted to focus its efforts on the growing need for ancillary student facilities. These often include parking garages, dining halls, infirmaries, food courts and convenience stores.

Focused, Effective

RISE makes its mark by leveraging the team’s industry experience and comprehensive understanding of the development process to see that all phases are tailored to serve in the client’s best interests. The company specializes in providing its expertise for the design, financing, development, project management and post-construction phases of a project. RISE works with clients to identify the best financing options and determine the appropriate operations budgeting. The team coordinates with architects, specialty designers and general contractors to ensure the impact of the development will sync with the campus’ overall objectives.

“We continually work with proven general contractors, who themselves work with a large percentage of repeat subcontractors that understand our expectations for quality and an on-time delivery,” adds Perry. At the end of the day, it is RISE’s ability to deliver on these promises that has established the company as a long-term partner for many educational institutions.

RISE even found a way to turn the recent economic downturn into a silver lining for clients. “Contractor pricing has been better in recent years and we have been able to pass along these savings to the client either in the form of reduced costs to the student body or as room to upgrade to higher quality materials,” adds Perry.

Thinking Long-term

North Georgia College & State University in Dahlonega, Ga., is one of RISE’s many repeat clients, for which RISE recently delivered a reinvigorated Gaillard Hall in August 2012. The project is just one of eight that the company has delivered on campus in the past decade, and one close to the university’s heart as it provides modern student accommodations in a space that adheres to the guidelines set by the state’s Historic Preservation Division.

The new residence hall is one of many that the university has recently built along the lines of modern army facilities to house its cadet student body. RISE, with key partners Choate Construction Company and Lord Aeck Sargent, previously lead the development, design and construction of Liberty Hall, which opened for occupancy in December 2011.

This is in addition to the North Georgia Suites and Patriot Hall, both completed in August 2010 in advance of the fall 2010 semester. Patriot Hall represents a major turning point for the university, as it was the first new cadet housing development on campus in over 50 years. The building itself consists of two wings housing cadet living units overlooking the expansive drill field and the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains.

Elsewhere on campus, RISE has developed a 1,080-space parking garage that connects to the North Georgia Suites residence hall and the Chestatee Building, which houses a student health center, bookstore, coffee shop and retail space at street level. “We also completed work on a 1,200-seat dining hall in 2011 that allows the university to efficiently absorb the influx of cadets coming in and off of the drill field after peak training hours,” adds Perry.

The rise in popularity of public-private venture financing has only aided RISE’s growth over the past two decades, and Perry expects the trend to continue. “Higher education is always evolving, but I’m not sure we’ll ever see a time when students aren’t looking for the traditional on-campus living and learning experience, which is why we want to continue focusing on building these facilities,” explains Perry.

Perry doesn’t see a return to pre-2008 building activity on the horizon, but regardless RISE is well positioned to continue building facilities that make higher education institutions a great place to live and learn.

See more at the US Builders Review