Jennifer Hall

Construction on the new Poly Canyon Village housing project at Cal Poly is set to begin on March 17. The housing project will provide 2,700 beds for Cal Poly students who want to live on campus.

The project will be the nation’s largest on-campus student housing complex and will be ready for students in 2008-09, according to Larry Kelley, Vice President for Administration and Finance for Cal Poly.

“The project offers a unique opportunity to create a 21st-century living and learning community that will bring students back on campus,” Kelley said.

The village design includes three residential neighborhood areas, which will house approximately 2,700 students, two parking structures totaling 1,900 parking spaces, a recreation center with a swimming pool, commercial retail and food service areas and a knowledge center.

“It will give students an opportunity to find and acquire good, solid housing and it gives us an opportunity to bring much more life to the community,” said Preston Allen, assistant vice president for student affairs and director for housing and residential life.

Construction on the project includes the clearing and grading of 30 acres of land north of Brizzolara Creek near Poly Canyon, relocating agricultural resources and constructing an access road to the complex. Clark Construction, the contractor for the project, expects the first phase to be completed and ready for students by fall of 2008.

“We’re on schedule; we have a great contractor and a wonderful plan,” Kelley said.

Funding for the project was passed last May by the California State University Trustees. They voted to issue $299 million in bonds for construction that includes the cost of relocating College of Agriculture facilities and upgrades for electrical substation, sewage, water, roads and bridges.

There are currently 3,500 students living on campus and this project will increase that number to 6,200, nearly doubling the amount of housing offered to Cal Poly students.

“Students want clean, modern, up-to-code housing with other students living around and with them,” Allen said. “Poly Canyon Village will be all of that.”

Cal Poly currently has housing available for approximately 15 percent of the student body and hopes to increase that number to 30 percent.

“There’s a strong demand from students and the apartment-style housing is very popular,” Kelley said.

By fall of 2008, it is expected that 1,167 beds in four buildings will be completed in addition to the two parking structures. By 2009, an additional 1,512 beds in five buildings will be completed.

Students will have the option of four, five and six-person apartments, including single and double rooms with kitchens and living rooms similar to Cerro Vista.

“In addition to meeting our commitment to students, we believe this project will also benefit the community by easing the pressure on local housing and reducing the number of daily auto trips to campus,” Kelley said.

The plan is to keep the current residence halls for freshmen and to offer housing in Poly Canyon Village to sophomores. Cerro Vista, the current housing project for sophomores, will either be offered to juniors or freshmen.

“We’re really hoping that it will be a good transition for sophomores,” Allen said. “We want to be in sync with their maturity level.”

The ground breaking for the project is planned for March 17 at 1:30 p.m. at the horticulture lawn located at the end of Via Carta Road next to the arboretum.

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