RSMeans’ dollar-per-square-foot construction costs for four types of college buildings - April 2013

04/10/2013 by Alex Carrick

Accompanying this report are tables and graphs based on RSMeans’ measures of dollar-per-square-foot construction costs.

This month’s results are for four types of college structures – a dormitory, laboratory, classroom and student union building.

Comparisons with other types of structure

According to RSMeans, the cheapest types of structure to build, after extremely low-cost parking garages, are factories and warehouses.

A convenience store also belongs in this low-expense grouping.

Department stores and movie theatres are a little pricier. 

In the mid-range for construction costs are nursing homes, office buildings, hotels and high-rise apartment buildings.

In the latter three categories, heights above ten stories tend to lower the dollar-per-square-footage cost.

Also in the mid-range for construction costs are elementary and secondary schools, along with institutions of higher learning.

By far the most expensive types of structure to build are hospitals, jails/prisons, courthouses and police stations.

Some of the foregoing institutional building categories exceed $350 per square foot in the largest urban centers.

In New York, for example, the cost of a low-rise hospital exceeds $400 per square foot. 

U.S. dollars per square foot construction costs –
By type of structure – April 2013
    MAJOR CITIES
(alphabetically)
COLLEGE LABORATORY COLLEGE CLASSROOM
2013 2012   % CHANGE 2013 2012   % CHANGE
1   ATLANTA $179.29 $172.80   3.8% $166.45 $164.26   1.3%
2   BALTIMORE 188.84 182.17   3.7% 175.31 173.16   1.2%
3   BOSTON 239.80 229.42   4.5% 222.62 218.08   2.1%
4   CHICAGO 236.55 227.66   3.9% 219.60 216.41   1.5%
5   CLEVELAND 201.63 192.71   4.6% 187.18 183.19   2.2%
6   DALLAS 172.59 165.96   4.0% 160.23 157.76   1.6%
7   DENVER 190.87 183.93   3.8% 177.19 174.84   1.3%
8   DETROIT 209.95 201.11   4.4% 194.91 191.17   2.0%
9   HOUSTON 175.64 168.31   4.4% 163.05 159.99   1.9%
10   KANSAS CITY 211.17 202.28   4.4% 196.04 192.28   2.0%
11   LOS ANGELES 217.67 208.72   4.3% 202.07 198.41   1.8%
12   MIAMI 181.32 174.94   3.6% 168.33 166.30   1.2%
13   MINNEAPOLIS 225.59 217.31   3.8% 209.42 206.57   1.4%
14   NEW ORLEANS 179.50 172.41   4.1% 166.63 163.88   1.7%
15   NEW YORK CITY 267.82 258.12   3.8% 248.63 245.36   1.3%
16   PHILADELPHIA 230.87 221.80   4.1% 214.32 210.84   1.7%
17   PHOENIX 179.50 172.80   3.9% 166.63 164.26   1.4%
18   PITTSBURGH 206.70 198.18   4.3% 191.89 188.38   1.9%
19   PORTLAND 202.24 194.27   4.1% 187.75 184.67   1.7%
20   ST. LOUIS 208.53 200.13   4.2% 193.59 190.24   1.8%
21   SAN DIEGO 209.75 201.11   4.3% 194.72 191.17   1.9%
22   SAN FRANCISCO 250.56 240.94   4.0% 232.61 229.03   1.6%
23   SEATTLE 211.58 203.45   4.0% 196.42 193.40   1.6%
24   WASHINGTON, DC 198.79 191.74   3.7% 184.54 182.26   1.3%
25   WINSTON-SALEM 160.61 148.19   8.4% 149.10 140.87   5.8%
MAJOR CITIES
(alphabetically)
COLLEGE DORMITORY COLLEGE STUDENT UNION BUILIDNG
2013 2012   % CHANGE 2013 2012   % CHANGE
1   ATLANTA $180.88 $179.43   0.8% $147.02 $146.87   0.1%
2   BALTIMORE 190.51 189.17   0.7% 154.85 154.83   0.0%
3   BOSTON 241.93 238.23   1.6% 196.64 194.99   0.8%
4   CHICAGO 238.65 236.41   0.9% 193.97 193.50   0.2%
5   CLEVELAND 203.42 200.11   1.6% 165.33 163.79   0.9%
6   DALLAS 174.12 172.34   1.0% 141.53 141.06   0.3%
7   DENVER 192.56 190.99   0.8% 156.51 156.32   0.1%
8   DETROIT 211.81 208.83   1.4% 172.16 170.93   0.7%
9   HOUSTON 177.20 174.77   1.4% 144.02 143.05   0.7%
10   KANSAS CITY 213.04 210.05   1.4% 173.16 171.92   0.7%
11   LOS ANGELES 219.60 216.74   1.3% 178.49 177.40   0.6%
12   MIAMI 182.93 181.66   0.7% 148.68 148.69   0.0%
13   MINNEAPOLIS 227.59 225.66   0.9% 184.98 184.70   0.2%
14   NEW ORLEANS 181.09 179.03   1.2% 147.19 146.53   0.4%
15   NEW YORK CITY 270.20 268.04   0.8% 219.61 219.39   0.1%
16   PHILADELPHIA 232.91 230.32   1.1% 189.31 188.52   0.4%
17   PHOENIX 181.09 179.43   0.9% 147.19 146.87   0.2%
18   PITTSBURGH 208.54 205.79   1.3% 169.50 168.44   0.6%
19   PORTLAND 204.03 201.74   1.1% 165.83 165.12   0.4%
20   ST. LOUIS 210.38 207.82   1.2% 171.00 170.10   0.5%
21   SAN DIEGO 211.61 208.83   1.3% 171.99 170.93   0.6%
22   SAN FRANCISCO 252.78 250.19   1.0% 205.46 204.78   0.3%
23   SEATTLE 213.45 211.27   1.0% 173.49 172.92   0.3%
24   WASHINGTON, DC 200.55 199.10   0.7% 163.00 162.96   0.0%
25   WINSTON-SALEM 162.04 153.89   5.3% 131.70 125.96   4.6%
Data source: Tables were abstracted from RSMeans cost data publications for the A/E/C industry. For more information about RSMeans Square Foot Cost Guide and RSMeans CCI (Construction Cost Index), which indexes square foot costs for cities in the U.S. and Canada, visit the online bookstore at www.rsmeans.com and click on cost data publications (or call 1-800-448-8182).
Charts: Reed Construction Data – RS Means and CanaData.

College laboratory construction cost:
April 2013 ranking of major U.S. cities
College laboratory construction cost: April 2013 ranking of major U.S. cities
College classroom construction cost:
April 2013 ranking of major U.S. cities
College classroom construction cost: April 2013 ranking of major U.S. citiess
College dormitory construction cost:
April 2013 ranking of major U.S. cities
College dormitory construction cost: April 2013 ranking of major U.S. citiess
College student union building construction cost:
April 2013 ranking of major U.S. cities
College student union building construction cost: April 2013 ranking of major U.S. cities
These charts and tables were abstracted from RSMeans cost data publications for the A/E/C industry. For more information about RSMeans Square Foot Cost Guide and RSMeans CCI (Construction Cost Index), which indexes square foot costs for cities in the U.S. and Canada, visit the online bookstore at www.rsmeans.com and click on cost data publications (or call 1-800-448-8182).
Data source: Reed Construction Data – RS Means (www.rsmeans.com).
Charts: Reed Construction Data – CanaData