(Photo by Nha Ha)
Mustang Daily Staff Report
Cal Poly announced its intent to build new residence facilities for freshmen near the Grand Avenue entrance of campus in a press release on Wednesday.
The new development is still in the design phases, but according to the current plan, it will house 1,400 students. The facility will be built in the two parking lots adjacent to Grand Avenue and across from Sierra Madre and Yosemite residence halls, and the design may include a small parking structure to help offset the loss of parking spaces.
The plan still needs to be approved by the California State University System Board of Trustees, but if implemented will begin construction in 2015 and be ready for students to move in for the 2018-19 academic year, Interim Director of Media Relations Matt Lazier said.
A recent market demand study concluded there could be a demand for 10,300 on-campus beds in upcoming years. Since the university only has 6,900 beds, this leaves a 3,400 bed gap, Lazier said. The new residence hall will help reduce that gap by one-third.
Students, however, are not the only Cal Poly members who see the need for more on-campus residence facilities. Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong wants to increase the number of students living on campus, hoping to eventually see some students spending all four years here, he said.
“We know if you look at factors that influence student success, students do better if they live in university program housing and we’re excited to expand that,” Armstrong said. “And for a Learn By Doing campus, where place is important, and Learn By Doing is important in all our colleges, connecting that experience with the residential experience is something we value.”
The costs for the new residence facilities will be covered by bonds in the construction phases, and the money from charging rent will eventually cover the costs, Lazier said. In other words, residential facilities pay for themselves.
The design is also going to include a Welcome Center, which will cover all of the responsibilities that the current kiosk located at the Grand Avenue entrance does. It will be a place for visitors to purchase parking permits and obtain maps. Though unsure of the specifics, the hope is to have the Welcome Center have a different vibe than the kiosk.
“The plan is to have a place for students, families and other guests to come in as they get to campus,” Lazier said.
The design team for the project will be selected soon.
Sara Natividad and Sean McMinn contributed to this staff report.