The Santa Rosa (Calif.) Junior College Board of Trustees has approved a plan to provide on-campus student housing at affordable rates as soon as fall 2022.
The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports that the $42 million, five-story development in Santa Rosa will have capacity for up to 360 students, with rents ranging from $750 for a traditional double room up to $1,175 for single occupancy in a four-bedroom apartment.
The project represents an unusual step in the world of community colleges — just one in four offer on-campus housing, according to the American Association of Community Colleges.
The 101-year-old college has offered on-campus housing before, but nothing on the scale envisioned in the new development, which officials say will enliven the campus beyond normal instruction hours.
The housing plan comes as enrollment continues to decline — a trend exacerbated by the 2017 fires in the area — and as students struggle to find affordable rentals. Some have been forced to commute from as far away as Ukiah, 60 miles to the north, says College President Frank Chong.
After the fires, which wiped out 5,300 homes in Sonoma County and 5% of Santa Rosa’s stock, 7% of Santa Rosa's students reported they planned to leave the college, and 30% said they were considering leaving, according to a survey conducted last year.
Board President Jordan Burns calls the housing development the “single most important project” during the current trustees’ tenure on the board.
“This is really going to reshape the entire campus. It’s turning our campus into a 6, 7 a.m.-to-10 p.m. campus into a 24-hour campus,” Burns says.
The project will be built with light-gauge steel and have red brick to match other buildings on campus. There will be communal lounges and kitchens and a dozen washers and dryers.
The lead developer is Servitas, which specializes in student housing development.