In the near future, freshmen won’t have to leave campus at the end of their first year to brave the distant Davis outskirts.
UC Davis has just put the finishing touches on plans for the West Village, a new housing structure for university students, faculty and community college students. Officials predict it will open by fall 2011.
“Back in 2000 we projected a growth of over 6,000 more students, and the city of Davis has a limited developmental capacity,“ said Karl Mohr, assistant vice chancellor of capital and environmental resource management. “West Village Housing will accommodate students and faculty and allow them to live locally.“
The new structure will house 4,350 people – 500 of which will be faculty and their families. The structure will be located west of Interstate 113 and will be serviced by Unitrans.
Resource Management and Planning (RMP) signed a ground lease for staff housing in early September, which gives ownership of the property to the university while allowing tenants to purchase the units. This enables the university to sell the units at a lower price, in hopes of attracting faculty and staff. What’s more, the ground lease will give the university power over who buys future units, ensuring permanent staff housing in designated areas.
“There will be three- to four thousand people living [in West Village] and that’s three- to four thousand people that don’t need to commute from Sacramento or Woodland every day,” said Paul Schwartz, facility planner for the RMP. “It will reduce traffic and emissions and will be a really positive addition to the campus.“
Groundbreaking is set for this spring on phase I, which accounts for 60 percent of the overall project and will cost approximately $2 million. RMP feels confident in the future success of West Village because their previous building project, Aggie Village, was so popular.
“A number of my new faculty who have been hired were really excited about Aggie Village,” said English department chair Margarete Ferguson. “The idea that there will be smaller houses is good because there aren’t that many small but nice places. So that’s another plus.“
West Village will also feature a community college center. RMP has worked with the Los Rios Community College district to make West Village housing available to its students as well, considering many also study on the UC Davis campus.
“We have a long-standing partnership with our local community colleges,” Mohr said. “A lot of them teach courses here so we wanted to offer this housing because of the program relationship and also as an amenity for the community.“
But the planning team promises to put UC Davis students first in their housing needs. The cost of renting a unit will be close to the cost of The Lexington apartments and will be similarly competitive, according to campus real estate services.
RMP is also planning a recreation field, fitness center, pool and lounge areas. In addition, they plan to make West Village environmentally sustainable, complete with photovoltaic panels.
The only opposition the plan has faced has been from residents who live along Russell Boulevard who are concerned about traffic. However, officials believe that the close proximity to campus will encourage residents to walk, ride their bikes or take the bus.
“I think West Village will energize the campus community,” Schwartz said. “Whenever you add more people, it improves the culture.“
More information can be found at westvillage.ucdavis.edu.
LAUREN STEUSSY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.