Beginning in Fall 2012, all incoming first-year students will be guaranteed space in the residence halls for their first two years as a UC Davis student.
This is due to an expected availability of beds in Fall 2012, which has not occurred for three years. Of the 4,300 freshman students that are usually housed in residence halls, about five percent (215 students) are expected to return.
“Its not a significant number,” said Ramona Hernandez, business director at UC Davis student housing. “We’re still trying to determine, because we’re still a year out from this, what is the best way to accommodate their needs.”
Before the second-year guarantee, students were given the option to indicate during Winter quarter an interest in returning to the residence halls for the next academic year. Due to the varying size of classes each year, Student Housing was not able to guarantee space for returning residents.
Mike Sheehan, director of Facility Services at UC Davis Student Housing, said this will be important for those students who are not yet ready to move out into the City of Davis community.
“It is a personal decision for each student and dependent on their needs and life situation,” Sheehan said.
The UC Davis Student Housing Strategic Plan states the majority of students prefer living off-campus during their second year. Due to this reason, there has not been a demand from continuing students.
In the 2004-05 UC Davis school year, a decrease in state funding pushed admissions to admit fewer applicants, which would have in turn lead to higher residence hall fees. Student Housing elected to offer the opportunity to return to residence halls as a sophomore. Of the 4,300 students given the option, 150 students gave affirmative responses and deposits and only 77 returned to the dorms as sophomores.
Currently, residence hall fees average at over $4,000 per quarter. Dana Park, a first-year international relations major who currently lives in the residence halls, said if given the option she would not return as a sophomore.
“I can’t wait to have an apartment of my own with a kitchen, my own bathroom … I’ll miss some things, like the proximity to campus and the convenience of the [dining commons], but I wouldn’t consider coming back to the dorms for another year just for that,” she said.
No new construction will take place to house returning students.
“Student Housing will accommodate [sophomores] with the existing resident halls and master leased apartment spaces off campus,” Hernandez said.
Also available are the many on-campus apartment options open to students, which are attributed to the ground lease with Tandem Properties that was agreed upon in the early 1980s, giving UC Davis over 1,200 apartment units and multiple buildings for fraternity groups. The leases are set to continue from 2035 to 2065.
It is uncertain whether Phase III of the Tercero dorms will house sophomores or remain primarily for first-year students. According to Hernandez, construction will begin in the summer to replace the Pierce Thille buildings in Tercero, but new residence hall beds will be installed only to replace existing beds and add a small number for projected first-year enrollment increases.
Tercero Phase III is scheduled to open in Fall 2014.
MUNA SADEK can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.