Real estate companies take over management of UNLV dorms

The Dayton Complex for freshman students on the campus of UNLV in Las Vegas on Wednesday, August 22, 2012.

A consortium of private companies has taken over management of on-campus housing at UNLV.

AVS Housing Group began overseeing the university’s six-building residence hall system, with 1,450 beds, on Jan. 1. The group, initially hired almost two years ago to help boost occupancy in the dorms, now also manages room assignments, resident contracts, vendors and other aspects of the buildings' day-to-day operations.

Under its 3 1/2-year management contract, AVS will earn about $28,000 per month through June. In the coming school years, its fixed monthly fee could change depending on the dorms' occupancy rate, UNLV Controller Chris Viton said.

UNLV still owns the residence halls, and its Office of Housing and Residential Life will continue to offer recreational activities and other services.

University President Neal Smatresk, Provost John Valery White and Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Dan Klaich signed the management contract last month.

AVS is a joint venture among affiliates of local real estate firms American Nevada Company and the Vista Group, as well as the Chicago-based Scion Group. American Nevada is owned by the Greenspun family, which owns VEGAS INC and the Las Vegas Sun.

Scion is the only one of the three companies that focuses exclusively on student housing. Scion says it manages nearly 11,000 beds at 13 college campuses, including Texas A&M University, the University of Georgia and the University of South Carolina.

UNLV's on-campus housing had been marked by declining occupancy rates, and AVS was brought in to help draw more students to the dorms. Viton said the group helped UNLV officials develop the student housing portion of the university's master plan, which was approved in late November by the Nevada System of Higher Education.

Occupancy rates have improved. About 900 people lived in the dorms in fall 2011, but that climbed to about 1,100 a year later, according to Viton.

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