As the campus evolves and grows into the future, UC Santa Barbara is delivering on its promise of additional university housing for undergraduates.
With one new housing project underway, another approved for development and one more planned, the campus is well-prepared for the slow growth outlined in its Long Range Development Plan, which on Thursday was granted unanimous, final approval from the California Coastal Commission following a thorough and collaborative process.
The Sierra Madre student apartment complex, currently under construction on Storke Road, will be ready for occupancy in fall 2015. The following fall, of 2016, will see the opening of the San Joaquin Villages project adjacent to the existing Santa Catalina complex. A third complex, being called Mesa Verde, is also planned.
In a separate agenda item, San Joaquin also received the coastal commission’s unanimous blessing Thursday. That project is expected to commence construction by early 2015.
“Housing is a key component of the 2010 Long Range Development Plan (LRDP),” said Marc Fisher, UCSB’s vice chancellor for administrative services. “UC Santa Barbara committed to our community that we would provide new student housing facilities during the planning horizon of the LRDP. The San Joaquin Villages development is our first student housing project designed to meet this commitment. It was designed by four stellar architecture firms, each with a national reputation — SOM, Kieran Timberlake Architects, Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects and Kevin Daly Architects. This important undertaking sets the standard for future housing with beautifully designed, affordable, sustainable architecture and site sensitive planning matching in quality the academic standards of our campus. I look forward to this exciting project.”
The projects, along with approved plans for faculty or staff housing units, are expected to help mitigate housing density in Isla Vista. The additional housing will also bolster UCSB’s capacity for summer camps and conferences. And that, in turn, will benefit students: Extra summer housing will enable both the expansion of existing seasonal programs and the introduction of new offerings, bringing in additional revenue that will serve to help curtail housing costs for students during the academic year.
“This extra capacity will allow us to use our facilities when they’re not occupied by UCSB students and still generate revenue — income that offsets the expense of housing for students who are in there during the school year,” said Chuck Haines, the director of capital development at UCSB. “This allows us to meet the requirements of our development plan, and keep our commitments to students and the community. This makes a big difference in our housing program and it’s an important moment for us.”
Further, the new projects are a boost to UCSB’s emerging 2&2 Program, a Housing & Residential Services initiative that guarantees third- and fourth-year placement in university apartments to students who live their first two years in campus residence halls. And, by making walking, biking and other forms of alternative transportation more convenient, the increase in on-campus housing is expected to reduce automobile congestion.