University master plan includes 1,400 more beds for students in campus core
Chico State has considered requiring freshmen to live on campus, but such a mandate isn’t in the immediate plans.
Earlier this year, the university enlisted a consultant to weigh the options. In the study, Student Housing Market & Demand Analysis, The Scion Group indicated that the university would need to add approximately 1,400 beds by 2028 for such a requirement. Without it, accommodating the campus’ future growth would take 560 additional beds.
Mike Guzzi, associate vice president of facilities and capital projects, said it was determined that the idea was not “in the best interests of our students” at this time. “While we continue to make on-campus housing as affordable as it can be, for lower-income students, sometimes living on campus can be a challenge,” he said.
However, the university is aiming to provide enough housing that if all freshmen wanted to live on campus, they could do so, he added.
Over the next decade, it plans to add 1,400 more student beds, per its 2020-2030 master plan update.
In the meantime, for the upcoming academic year, University Housing has increased its capacity by 71 beds—from 2,173 to 2,244—by creating some triple- and quadruple-bed rooms to accommodate more students at University Village and Sutter Hall, according to Connie Huyck, the department’s executive director. In Sutter Hall, for example, a study room was repurposed to create a four-bed room.
The long-term vision for the campus’ orientation also has shifted. During outreach meetings for the master plan update, Guzzi said students made it clear they “wanted to be near the heart of campus,” he said, to live in a place “so they could walk out of their dorm and go right to class. So we heard that and made some adjustments.”
The intent is to build up, by adding more stories to Lassen and Shasta halls, as well as construct new residence halls nestled along the creek, just south of Yolo Hall near the practice fields. Guzzi said that while the university has not yet finalized the plan and its priority projects, he anticipates adding 600 beds on campus in the next two to five years.
Konkow, Mechoopda and Esken residence halls—which typically have lower student occupancy rates, according to The Scion Group analysis—will be demolished in favor of more beds in central campus. The university will create athletic fields in their place, which will be situated near an arena planned for the former College Park neighborhood (see “Grand ideas,” Newslines, May 23).
The university also is eyeing the Rio Chico Way neighborhood, just north of the Wildcat Recreation Center. It’s made up of privately owned homes, many of which are rented by students, Guzzi said. The idea is to seek private-public partnerships to create residence halls there, as well as affordable housing for faculty.