February 1, 2005
New Options for Housing
Only half way through my second quarter at Cal Poly and I am already feeling the pressure of finding a place to live next year. It seems everyone’s parents have either bought them a new house or they have already committed to a lease for next year. This frantic search facing students at our university is caused by a lack of housing. Although first year students interested in living in the dorms are usually granted the opportunity, there are limited options for second year students and upper classmen. Cerro Vista apartments, which opened a few years ago, reduce the stress of trying to find affordable housing for second year students. However, this on-campus complex only offers 800 rooms and the demand is so abundant that a lottery process must be used to decide who gets to live there. A dilemma is presented for students as real estate in San Luis Obispo is not only limited, but among the priciest in the California. Student Housing North, a new on-campus housing complex set to open in approximately 2009, will accommodate housing needs of 2700 more students and provide stronger student-centered social life for the students of Cal Poly.
Major negotiations for the Student Housing North project have already been settled. Original concerns included: environmental side effects, Brizzolara Creek disturbance, and how vehicles will access the apartments. With all the concerns that are involved in this master plan solved, the construction is scheduled to begin this winter. The 35 acre site will be located where the feed mill, the feed lot, the bull test area, and the abattoir currently stand, on the edge of Poly Canyon and adjacent to Brizzolara Creek. All of the current structures will be relocated. Student Housing North will include 11 five-story buildings consisting of studio apartments, two bedroom apartments, and four bedroom apartments. These apartments will be rented by second year, upperclassmen and even married couples. Two parking structures will be close to these apartments, allowing 1900 of the 2700 to park their cars.
The cost of the project is set at $189,000,000. The money will help to fulfill the promise to have technically advanced settings in all the apartments including many environmental conscious measures such as highly insulated buildings to reduce the use of heating and air conditioning, on-site storm water management, drought tolerant landscaping, and campus accessibility by foot . Prior to Cerro Vista, the most recently built housing structure was over 30 years old. Having advanced technology will help cut the costs of renovation through the decades. The compactness of this project, only 11 buildings, will leave the campus with a vast amount of natural land while meeting the needs of so many more students.
I feel that this new project will really add to the appeal of our campus and attract greater student interest. Part of the current allure of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is the small, college town atmosphere. Having an additional 2700 students living on campus will allow the college to pull even further away from the dreaded “commuter campus” title. As a freshman and living on campus, I walk around campus at any hour. I have noticed that the only time a large number of students can be seen on campus is during the middle of a weekday and only 10 minutes before and after each hour. Having more students live on campus will help keep the campus alive at all hours of the day.
Because the city of San Luis Obispo is so small, about 50,000 residents, the 20,000 students that attend Cal Poly must mingle with all of the families that grow up here. Although this town is clearly for college students, much of the staff of Cal Poly lives in San Luis Obispo amongst crazy college kids and this does not provide the best atmosphere to raise a family. With 2,700 more students living on campus, the strain on the community will be reduced . Student Housing North is projected to have a community atmosphere where students can live among fellow students and give space to citizens of San Luis Obispo who do not want to be directly involved with the campus, making the city stronger.
President Warrren Baker. “Student Housing North: A 21st Century Residential Learning Community.” Cal Poly Outlook. April 23, 2003. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. February 14, 2005 <http://www.calpolynews.calpoly.edu/outlook/shn- outlook.html>