- What is Simmons College doing with its real estate and why?
The College is examining our real estate assets at this time to achieve three principal goals:
- Modernize the science facility on campus.
- Improve the student residential experience.
- Add funds to our endowment.
We have hired a real estate advisor, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank (NGKF) Capital Markets, who will use their extensive experience working with developers to solicit proposals to assist Simmons in determining the best use of our buildings and grounds to achieve our three principal goals.
NGKF is preparing a Request for Proposals (RFP) that will go to developers on March 1st. Developers will then have a 2-3 month period to package their ideas into formal proposals for the College to consider.
- What is being considered?
The College does not have a particular plan or concept in mind. Rather, we will be explaining to developers what our three principal goals are, and we will then leave it to the experts to offer ideas on how best we can achieve them. To give a sense of what we believe we might be expected to consider, one idea could include renovating an existing academic building to accommodate our science space needs and replacing the Park Science Building to meet our other needs. Another idea could be to demolish the current Park Science Building and build a new science center in its place. We are also exploring our options as they relate to the residential campus, to modernize the community spaces and upgrade the living areas. Please note that none of these ideas have been formally proposed; they are simply examples of proposals we might expect to receive.
- Is Simmons considering selling any land or real estate?
No. We will not be selling any land or real estate.
- Why now?
Later this year, Simmons must submit to the City of Boston our Institutional Master Plan (IMP). The IMP is a comprehensive document that describes any potential construction that we expect will take place on campus during the next ten years. We believe this document should reflect our best thinking about how we can maximize our real estate assets to achieve our three principal goals.
- What has the Board of Trustees authorized?
The Board has authorized the President to explore fully the marketability, financial feasibility and benefits of recapitalizing Simmons College’s capital assets to inform the upcoming submission of the Institutional Master Plan. In doing so, the Board has given its support to hiring NGKF and issuing an RFP for the College as a means of soliciting ideas from qualified developers.
- Why are you really exploring real estate options? Is Simmons in financial trouble? Are you trying to avoid deferred maintenance costs on our residential campus buildings? Are you doing this to add to Simmons endowment? If yes, how much would you expect to net toward endowment?
We are exploring this concept to meet all of the previously stated objectives: modernize our science facility, improve the residential experience, and add to our endowment.
Simmons has never been stronger financially, and we are pleased to approach this real estate initiative from a position of fiscal strength. Specifically:
- The College is enjoying three straight years of record undergraduate and graduate enrollment;
- Simmons has seen operating surpluses six out of the last seven years;
- Simmons endowment at roughly $175 million is healthy and impressive for a school our size;
- Simmons net tuition revenue is growing, due in part to the success of our online graduate programs;
- Simmons most recent capital campaign, Making Education Work, exceeded its $85 million goal bringing the total of the campaign to just over $100 million.
We do hope that total execution of this plan will result in a net boost to our endowment but we won’t know for some time what that number will be.
- Will the College be looking to add more residential capacity on campus via this project?
No. The College has determined the optimal class size to be approximately 425. We have determined that the current 1,100 beds on campus provide us with the capacity we need now and into the future.
- Where can I go to get more information?
These FAQs will be updated periodically as new information becomes available. Also, we will be hosting community meetings and sending community-wide messages as the project progresses. For further details, you may contact Jeremy Solomon, Associate Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs, at Jeremy.email@example.com.