The University of California Santa Barbara plans to enroll approximately another 4,000 more students by the year 2017. UCSB Housing and Residential Services is developing new housing for occupancy in 2016 to accommodate this growing population of students.
The San Joaquin Apartments will be dedicated to fulfilling the university’s long-term goal of offering four years of housing for all freshmen and sophomore students. It will provide living accommodations for 1,000 additional students with two to three bedrooms in each unit.
The area just north and east of the Santa Catalina North Tower is to be the primary location for the new housing project, according to the housing’s Long Range Development Plan.
While the new San Joaquin Apartments will serve sophomore, junior and potentially senior undergraduates, Santa Catalina will remain a housing option for freshmen. The purpose of the close proximity is to provide students with a sense of community while they live in an evolving living and learning environment.
Barry Colwell, Coordinator of Resource Planning of Housing and Residential Services, plans to assist the campus in providing affordable, community-connected housing for the influx of students in the future.
“The Long Range Development Plan calls out for the enrollment of this campus to go to approximately 25,000 from the current 21,000,” said Colwell. “The current goal is to ultimately provide campus owned housing to 50 percent of enrolled students.”
According to Colwell, the $175 million project plans on accommodating the living needs of students, while providing a small community for those living west of the main campus.
“It will include a new, larger dining commons on El Colegio to replace Portola, and even a market and late night Bistro,” said Colwell.
Raul Martinez, former RHA President and fourth-year business economics and political science double major, shared the importance of students’ input during the development process.
“Being able to advocate for all the students was really important,” said Martinez. “There is a committee that includes all students, who sits with architects and Residential Life to discuss things from the designs to landscaping.”
In the current developing stage, the San Joaquin plan is going through various reviews as far as design and students are an integral part in the planning process.
“Housing is very receptive to students’ input,” said Martinez. “It is important that students are provided with more student options as the rates for enrollment increases.”
UCSB Housing believes that the additional living community for students will balance out the steady increase of incoming students. And the San Joaquin project plans to balance the dense living environment that current freshman encounter for future students.
“The amount of triples this year is a record of 1,000,” said Colwell. “We usually have 250, maybe 300 triples in the fall when we first book up.”
Although current students and those freshmen compacted in their triples will not be here once the San Joaquin project is complete, some still share their excitement for the expansion of the Santa Catalina area.
Noel Henry, a third-year film and media studies major and former Santa Catalina resident, gives her feedback to the housing project.
“I lived in FT my freshman year and I think it is exciting for the students who will live there,” said Henry. “This community will be super important because when I lived there I felt disconnected from those living on campus.”
Additions in the Project
600 beds on site; however, for the possible increase in enrollment, targeting 800 and 1200 beds.
The new dining common will be built parallel to El Colegio Rd to replace Portola.
This new area of apartments and a market will be a developing community that will accommodate for the students west of campus.
The university commits itself to sustainable measures, so there will be transportation providing a shuttle and expanding the bike paths.
Included in this project will be a bike shop and an outdoor theater for students.
Photos Courtesy of UCSB