UC Santa Cruz to begin construction on new child care center, student housing

The project, which will be built in phases, will help the campus meet its ambitious plan to provide more than 40 percent additional student housing by 2030


UC Santa Cruz is breaking ground in the coming weeks on a project to provide a new child care center that expands services for faculty and staff, and build new housing for students with families.

At the intersection of Hagar and Coolidge drives and adjacent to existing employee housing, the long-awaited child care center will support faculty and staff recruitment and retention efforts by providing critical campus child care services to the children of employees and students. The project will also support educational access by providing housing designed to support 120 students and their families.

“We have an urgent need to expand child care support and provide more student housing, and I am thrilled to see this project reach this critical milestone,” Chancellor Cynthia Larive said.

The child care center and the family student housing community are expected to open in late 2025, which will then allow the campus to move forward on the second phase of the project, which will provide additional on-campus housing for thousands of students.

The new family student housing community is being built across the street from existing employee housing, close to a local elementary school, and near the main campus entrance. In addition to the housing buildings, the site will include a community center and garden, an early education center, a maintenance building, and a wastewater treatment facility that are all designed to meet LEED Silver certification.

“Expanding campus housing is essential to student success and a top priority for UC Santa Cruz,” said Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Success Akirah Bradley-Armstrong. “These thoughtfully designed housing facilities will not only support our students with families but also bring much-needed, brand-new living and learning opportunities to campus. We are thrilled to break ground on this eagerly anticipated project and look forward to continuing to increase our campus housing options for students.”

Addressing a critical need

UC Santa Cruz provides housing for more than 9,300 students–more than half of its undergraduate student body and the second-highest percentage within the UC system. However, the Santa Cruz region, like much of California, is in a severe housing crisis. This project will allow the university to build new campus housing, expand childcare services, and help the campus fulfill a critical need. The new child care center will roughly double the capacity of our current facility and provide care for infants through school-age children.

Providing additional child care is an urgent need for our campus community, and will be especially important in recruiting and retaining talented faculty and staff.

Pursuing an ambitious plan for more housing

The project’s first phase will build 120 new two-bedroom apartments for students with families, a community room, and a child care center serving up to 140 children of faculty, staff, and students.

The second phase will include removing aging buildings along Heller Drive, currently home to students with families, so that the campus can build new buildings that will provide housing for up to 3,000 students. The campus anticipates that the first new buildings along Heller will be completed in fall 2028.

This project is in addition to:

  • 590 more beds that the campus is adding through the ongoing renovation and expansion of Kresge College;
  • Up to 400 beds for upper division undergraduate students and roughly 60 units for employees at an off-campus apartment complex; and
  • About 250 beds that will be delivered through a housing project with Cabrillo College.

More information about the campus’s work in addressing the critical need for housing can be found online.