San Juan College, located in Farmington, New Mexico ranks fifth in enrollment among all two- and four-year colleges in the state with an enrollment of over 11,000 students.  Recognizing that there were limited, attainable rental options near the rural college and that several students travel up to 90 minutes each way, the College engaged Scion to perform a student housing feasibility study.

Scion provided cutting edge insights and analyses to the College.
– Edward DesPlas


Scion’s work included significant qualitative and quantitative research to determine precise demand numbers, unit preferences, and rental cost tolerances.  Subsequent analysis compared different delivery methods that included public-private partnership and self-finance.  Several presentations and meetings were held with the College to inform their decision making based on their defined objectives and relevant to the findings of the analysis.


Initially, the College was not ready to accommodate the student housing yet persisted and continued to engage Scion to perform multiple updates to the initial study that included a public-private partnership (P3) analysis.  In late 2017 the College was prepared to move forward and engaged Scion to lead a P3 procurement process and developer negotiations.  Through the due diligence process, unforeseen conditions altered the deal structure.  As a result, pursuit of the P3 arrangement was discontinued without penalty to the College.


Scion then engaged with the College to test the viability a smaller housing project of 150 beds.  As a result, the College successfully achieved a loan through the New Mexico Finance Authority for its new $14M student housing project.  This solution provided the much-needed student housing and enabled the College to have the most control of the student experience.   The College is quoted as saying “studies have found students who live on campus persist in their education, complete course loads at higher rates, attain higher GPAs and engage more with the college than commuter students.”  San Juan College Executive Vice President Edward DesPlas says of Scion’s role in this work “Scion provided cutting edge insights and analyses to the College.  Perhaps more important than the advice we received is the strong working relationship we forged.  While Scion is no longer engaged with SJC, they still keep track of us, still have interest in our success and still care about our students and our project.”

The on-campus student housing project broke ground in February 2021.

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