Community invited to housing project hearings

Traci Ferdolage

UC Santa Cruz will be holding two public hearings next week on Student Housing West’s revised draft environmental impact report.

The meetings will be held from:

  • 6:30–8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 23 at the Louden Nelson Community Center, 301 Center St. Santa Cruz, CA; and
  • 5–7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 24 at Cruzioworks, 877 Center Street, Santa Cruz. (Note: A new location has been selected, given possible disruptions next week.)

The revised draft EIR is available online and is currently under a 45-day public review, which ends at 5:00 p.m. on November 1. Members of the public can provide public comment and input at the hearings noted above or may also email comments to

As many of you know, Student Housing West is our bold plan to help address the critical housing crisis in our community. The plans call for building enough new housing to create 3,072 new beds on campus for our existing student population. The vast majority—2,900—would be at the current site of Family Student Housing along Heller Drive, and a new 140-unit Family Student Housing community, including a child care center, would be built on approximately 17 acres at the corner of Hagar and Coolidge drives.

This project is focused on helping to address today’s housing shortages with newly constructed beds primarily designed to house upper-division undergraduates and graduate students. For the most part, these students are currently living in the local community and have a strong desire to live on campus instead of competing in the local market. We believe this project is a win for our students and for our community.

Additionally, the new Family Student Housing site will include an expanded child-care center that will serve the children of faculty, staff, and students. The children of students are currently the only children eligible for care.

The Hagar location is proposed for several reasons, including its proximity to existing employee housing, the main campus entrance, and Westlake Elementary School.

The campus did make some changes to the proposed project after our last public comment period concluded, including lowering the height of the buildings at the Heller site.

Once we collect more input through the public hearings, we hope to bring a proposed project to the UC Board of Regents in January for review and approval.

Our goal is to open the new community for family student housing in spring 2020, and to begin opening new buildings at Heller Drive in fall 2022 with full project completion by fall 2023.