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Is Private Enterprise More Efficient Than The Public Sector When It Comes to Student Housing?

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Cross Posted at  Legal Schnauzer

Campus Crest Communities has a business plan that sounds so splendid you want to slap your forehead and say, "Why didn't I think of that?"

Founders of the Charlotte-based company realized several years ago that America's colleges and universities faced a shortage of dormitory space. Many on-campus dorms had grown outdated, and such facilities are increasingly expensive to build. Plus, today's prospective college students, raised on the Internet, cable TV, and electronic devices, are turned off by the cramped and spartan dorm rooms of yesteryear. They want amenities, and they want them now.

Ted Rollins, founder and CEO of Campus Crest, had an idea: His company would replace the blah, publicly built dorms of yesterday with the privately built, "fully loaded" student housing of tomorrow. Wall Street loved the idea so much that Campus Crest completed a $380-million IPO in late 2010, and it now has almost 30 properties around the country, including one that is planned for Auburn University here in Alabama.

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How could this idea not be a smash hit? After all, private enterprise always is more efficient than government. That's what conservatives have been telling us for years, right?

Well, conservatives might want to check out the latest news about Campus Crest Communities before taking that idea to the bank.

One of Campus Crest's newest properties under The Grove brand opened August 20 at the University of North Texas. Three young men were injured on September 3 when a third-floor balcony collapsed at The Grove in Denton, Texas, and they fell to the parking lot below. (See missing balcony in photo above.) One of the men was listed in serious condition, and all had injuries that are believed to be non-life threatening.

How could such an incident take place at a building that is barely two weeks old? The North Texas Daily, UNT's student newspaper, provides insight:

Garrett Draper, Grant Draper and Tony Garcia were attending a party when the third-floor balcony they were standing on detached from the building and fell to the parking lot below.

A CareFlite helicopter transported the victims to Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth, where Garcia and Grant Draper are in fair condition.

As of Monday afternoon, Garrett Draper is still in serious condition, said Megan Brooks, senior public relations specialist for Texas Health Resources.

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How did Campus Crest Communities respond? The North Texas Daily reports:

The North Carolina-based company, Campus Crest, released a statement as The Grove's development company.

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I live in Birmingham, Alabama, and work in higher education. I became interested in justice-related issues after experiencing gross judicial corruption in Alabama state courts. This corruption has a strong political component. The corrupt judges are (more...)

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