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SRJC exploring student housing on campus

Santa Rosa Junior College is examining the possibility of constructing student housing on its Santa Rosa campus, with the ultimate goal of offering rooms to students in Fall 2022.

In August 2017, SRJC established a housing work group, including students, faculty, staff and administrators, to manage a discussion on the potential of providing affordable housing options for students.

Many SRJC students and employees lost homes in the October 2017 Sonoma County fires, which only intensified the local housing shortage. As a result, the housing work group decided to expedite the project.

In Spring 2018, SRJC contracted Scion, a leading advisory expert in the area of campus housing, to perform a housing feasibility study, with the goal of assessing SRJC’s need and availability to provide affordable, quality residential housing for students.

Scion’s initial research showed that after the fires, 7 percent of students surveyed reported they planned to leave SRJC, and an additional 30 percent were considering leaving due to cost of housing or housing insecurity. At the October 2018 special meeting of the Board of Trustees, Scion reported that there is sufficient demand from students to justify potentially providing housing with approximately 350 beds for students on the Santa Rosa campus.

To examine ways to provide such housing without imposing the financial burden on the college or the community, Scion recommended the utilization of a Public-Private Partnership financing model, in which SRJC would collaborate with a development firm to build and manage the housing on district-owned land.

At the Dec. 11 meeting of the Board of Trustees, SRJC will ask the Board to approve the release of a Request for Qualifications to begin the process of selecting a preferred P3 vendor. This would be the first step in identifying potential partners that will bid on a full request for proposal in spring 2019.

Student Trustee Robert Martinez expressed support for the much-needed housing.

“It is so expensive to live in Sonoma County, and there are many students who desperately need affordable housing,” he said. “I am very happy to see that the JC is doing something about it.”

President Frank Chong said that SRJC can be a leader in providing affordable housing in Sonoma County.

“Students can’t focus on their studies when they don’t know how to afford their rent,” he said. “My hope is to provide students with affordable housing options, so they can achieve their educational goals.”

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