SANTA ROSA (KPIX 5) — Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC), a commuter school, is planning to build a $43 million, five story student housing complex on part of the student parking lot to comply with its heightened priority to house students.
“There’s no secret that affordable housing is a challenge throughout the Bay Area, and in the North Bay as well and in the aftermath of the fires, 900 of our students lost their homes. Yes, 900 of 28,000,” said Dr. Frank Chong, president of SRJC.
Many of those students dropped out. SRJC doesn’t just have $43 million to spend, so they worked somewhat of a swap deal with national student housing developer Servitas in which they would trade a parking lot for the complex; it’s called a Public Private Partnership.
“We would lease them our land for next to nothing and they would invest in construction and development of the student residence hall and they would collect the rents,” Dr. Chong explained.
Rents will average $850 per person a month. Rooms will be modern and bright with large windows. There are open common areas on each floor, too. Outside, there are large open spaces with the main campus sitting behind the building.
“When the fires hit, that kinda sped things up for us and we said, ‘We gotta fast track this.’ So, instead of being an idea, it became a reality,” said Robert Ethington, SRJC’s Dean of Students.
Word of the new dorms quickly spread across campus.
“Having sustainable housing for people who can’t really afford it, and you know, you feel secure.” said student Kalen McGee.
Spencer Scruggs agrees. “Having some housing at a JC Campus is just unbelievable,” said Scruggs.
Another student wishes the project would be completed sooner. “It’s great for like, future students, but I would have loved it if it were happening right now,” said Selam Guitom.
Completion of the project and official move-in date are scheduled for August 1, 2022.