UC Regents Discuss Student Housing West

324

UC Santa Cruz administration presented the Student Housing West project to the Finance and Capital Strategies Committee of the UC Board of Regents during its Jan. 16 meeting.

The Student Housing West project, bringing about 3,000 beds to campus, is split into two geographical areas—a small site that would be built at the base of campus off Hagar Drive and a larger site off Heller Drive that would replace the current Family Student Housing buildings.

The Hagar site would be used to house students during the construction of the Heller site, and only consists of around 5 percent of the total projected beds.

Paul Hall, a former UC regent and alumnus of UCSC, presented an opposition to the Hagar site, stating the importance of the East Meadow as a gateway statement for the campus. He said the planned buildings at Hagar reflect 1950s-era urban sprawl architecture and don’t address the need for denser housing.

“This level of proposed density would [belong to] multi-million dollar homes in any urban area in California today,” Hall said during the meeting.

Hall raised the possibility of reviving the scrapped East Campus Infill Housing Project from 2009 as an alternative to the Hagar site.

Blumenthal responded to Hall’s proposal by citing projected costs of the East Campus Infill project as a major deterrent and the reason for its rejection years ago. He also said tunnels under the Hagar site make it too expensive to build heavier, denser structures.

Committee members urged the two sides to resume discussion and to find a compromise, instead of having the regents decide on a plan that would leave one side unsatisfied. Currently, no approval vote for the project is scheduled.