Regent action advances Student Housing West

To: UCSC Community

From: Chancellor Cindy Larive

I am thrilled to share the news that UC Santa Cruz, following finance and project approvals earlier today by the UC Board of Regents, is now able to move ahead with construction of our long-planned 3,000-bed Student Housing West project.

Moving forward on Student Housing West is a milestone for our campus — the project was first approved by Regents in 2019 — and I’m thrilled for our students and our campus community. The project will provide housing at two campus locations and includes a new, university-run childcare facility that will allow us to offer childcare services to all in our campus community.

The project has two discrete components. Phase one will include 140 new two-bedroom apartments for students with families and a childcare center that will serve up to 140 children of faculty, staff and students, roughly double the capacity of our current facility. This development will be adjacent to the intersection of Hagar and Coolidge drives. It is across the street from existing employee housing, close to a local elementary school, and near the main entrance to campus. Construction is slated to start in early 2024, with families moving into the units as early as fall 2025.

At that point, construction crews will demolish our current family student housing and existing childcare center to make way for the second phase. In their place we will construct six buildings that will provide housing for approximately 2,700 undergraduate students and 220 graduate students. This second phase could be completed as soon as fall 2028.

A UC Santa Cruz education is transformational, and studies have shown, time and time again, that for students to be successful, they need their basic needs met. Stable, affordable housing is one of those foundational needs, and Student Housing West will go a long way in helping us meet the housing needs of our students.

I am grateful for the support from the Regents, the Office of the President, the many Santa Cruz County public officials and housing advocates who spoke out in support of Student Housing West, and to the many people across our campus community who have worked tirelessly to advance this project. That work has paid off.

I am excited that Student Housing West has earned finance and project approvals, but one project — even a large one such as this — does not meet all of our housing needs. Our highest priority remains increasing the amount of campus housing for students, staff, and faculty. Our strategy is focused on developing a pipeline of projects — both new construction and renovations — as well as new creative partnerships.

The first phase of the Kresge College redevelopment is coming to an end, and students this fall will move into new residential halls with 400 beds, complete with student lounges and a new Owl’s Nest Cafe. The second phase will begin this summer and add another 590 beds that will come online in the 2025-26 academic year. All told, the project will give us roughly 600 more beds than what the college originally held.  

This is an important moment for our campus. When we make progress on housing, it allows our students to focus more fully on their education, and our faculty and staff on teaching and conducting the transformative research and scholarship that serve society and have come to define UC Santa Cruz.