nick camacho

Imagine leaving home for the first time to start life in a new place, at a new school and living by yourself for the first time without knowing a soul. It’s estimated that this will soon be a reality for hundreds of newly-admitted Cal Poly freshmen.

Though Cal Poly will be unable to offer housing to all of its admitted freshmen and transfer students this fall, Housing and Residential Life said the new Poly Canyon Village Housing Project, already under way, signals a much brighter future for campus housing.

“From what has been reported by (the Admissions Office), about 77 percent of students who are invited to Cal Poly turn us down because we can’t guarantee them two years of housing,” said Preston Allen, executive director for housing.

The housing shortage is not a new issue to Cal Poly, which houses approximately 3,600 students on campus. Admissions received about 31,000 applications from prospective freshmen and transfer students for fall 2006, and made approximately 13,000 offers for admission, according to the Admissions Office Web site.

With approximately 2,700 beds, the new Poly Canyon Housing Project will almost double the amount of on-campus housing by its scheduled completion in 2009, making Cal Poly the largest housing program in the CSU system. Housing officials expect the first four buildings, with 1,167 beds, to be finished and available to students by 2008.

“I think it’s probably going to be the most exciting thing to happen to Cal Poly since they put in Grand Avenue and Perimeter Road,” Allen said.

The Poly Canyon Village housing complex will have four- or five-bedroom apartments, each with a full kitchen, much like the Cerro Vista Apartments that opened in fall 2003. The complex will also contain two parking structures, providing approximately 1,900 new parking spaces and a village center with a swimming pool, mail center, fitness facilities, study space and retail food.

The completion of Poly Canyon Village will make it possible for Cal Poly to offer a two-year housing guarantee to all incoming students by 2009. All admitted freshmen and sophomores who live on campus as freshmen will be guaranteed on-campus housing; sophomores, transfers and upperclassmen living off campus will be able to apply after the on-campus student application and payment process is complete, according to Cal Poly Housing and Residential Life.

Until 2009, however, admitted freshmen and transfer students will have to find other housing options and it’s becoming increasingly difficult, said Tim Kershner, property manager for Stenner Glen student living, which is already full for next year.

In 1992, Stenner Glen founded the Off-Campus Housing Association, which includes a number of other local housing developments and meets with Cal Poly on a monthly basis. It is the only complex designed as a residence hall specifically for Cal Poly students.

Next year is the first year Stenner Glen will not be open to Cuesta students because of the housing crunch.

“It’s a hassle for the freshmen kids,” Kershner said about finding housing off-campus for students who are new to the San Luis Obispo area.

However, Kershner thinks that Stenner Glen and other developments in the Off-Campus Housing Association, like Mustang Village, are a good option for freshmen and transfers who are unable to secure on-campus housing.

“We’re physically closer to the classrooms than some on-campus dormitories,” Kershner said.

Kershner also said that students can gain a strong social foundation comparable to living in on-campus dormitories because they host so many events for their residents including dances, movie showings, special dinners and basketball tournaments. Residents can also get guidance from Stenner Glen’s Resident Assistants, most of whom are upperclassmen.

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