During the last California State University Board meeting, SF State received financial approval for the West Campus Green Student Housing and Health Center project.
The schematic plan of the project consists of two buildings, one for the student housing, and a second accommodating Student Health Services, Counseling and Psychological Services, Health Promotion and Wellness and a dining hall.
The board approved the design for both buildings, but only approved financing for the housing portion of the project. According to SF State Vice President for University Enterprises Jason Porth, the university will return to the board in March or May to get financial approval for the second building.
The full project will be funded partially by the Higher Education Housing Grant Program.
“It essentially funded 65% of the project, which ended up being $116.3 million grant,” Porth said.
According to CSU Assistant Vice Chancellor of Financing, Treasury and Risk Management, Robert Eaton, systemwide revenue bonds and campus designated reserves will cover the remaining expenses. The financial plan presented shows that the total budget of the housing component is $127.6 million, which will add 750 beds for first-year students.
The California Higher Education Grant Program will fund $82.9 million for the housing portion of the construction and is not to exceed the principal amount of system wide revenue bonds of $49.3 million, explained Eaton to the board. The remaining $33.4 million of the grant will go towards the health center component.
During the board meeting, SF State President Lynn Mahoney said that about 500 students were not able to obtain housing last fall.
“There are hundreds that have given up, our continuing students in particular have given up applying for campus housing,” Mahoney said.
The college sped up the board approval of the housing portion of the project to offset the Bay Area housing crisis.
“There are many reasons why students struggle to remain enrolled long enough to complete their education and this is especially true for students from families with limited means,” Mahoney said. “Our experience shows that housing insecurity is one of the biggest challenges our students face.”
The extra 750 beds on the West Campus Green housing will add to a total of 5300 beds on campus by Fall 2024, according to Mahoney.
In January, as the construction site was set up around the West Campus Green field, negative feedback towards the loss of the space, where sports practices and events took place, emerged.
“My argument against building on this open space is simple. It greatly negates the ‘Student Experience’.” said Anthony Robbins, administrative support at Children’s Campus, in an email sent to Mahoney and Golden Gate Xpress.
Robbins’ concern is that the campus is not prepared to support more students and administration is taking away recreational space without offering anything back.
“There’s this huge space that’s being taken away, so that we can put more students on campus that will never get any services,” Robbins said.
GGX already reported on the impact on the loss of the field. When questioned about it, Porth said it requires a look at it with a “historic lens,” and explained that the land was purchased 10 years ago with the intention to be developed once viable.
“We purchased it knowing we would have to develop it, we didn’t purchase it to be a field,” Porth added.
Construction of the West Campus Green student housing building is set to start in late February. The housing portion of the project aims to house students beginning in Fall 2024, and the second building is set to be completed by December 2024.