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Santa Rosa Junior College to explore offering student dorms

Affordable housing for 350 students possible by fall 2022|

But what about Kent Hall?

From 1965 through 2003, Santa Rosa Junior College had one dormitory for students wishing to live on campus. That 72-bed building, called Kent Hall, was demolished in 2003. There has been no on-campus housing offered since that time.

Santa Rosa Junior College announced Thursday that campus officials are considering constructing student housing on its Santa Rosa campus, with the ultimate goal of offering rooms to students in fall of 2022.

A housing workgroup – composed of students, faculty, staff and administrators – has been researching the potential of providing affordable housing options for students since August 2017.

The college cited the local housing shortage, intensified by the October 2017 fires, as the reason that the project has been expedited.

SRJC has hired Scion, an advisory firm with expertise 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 SRJC Board of Trustees, Scion reported sufficient demand from students to justify potentially providing housing with approximately 350 beds for students on the Santa Rosa campus at 1501 Mendocino Ave.

In order to examine ways to provide student housing, without imposing the financial burden on the college or the community, Scion recommended using a public-private partnership, a so-called P3 financing model, in which SRJC would collaborate with a development firm to build and manage the housing on district-owned land.

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

In a press announcement about the student-housing plan, SRJC President Frank Chong said his hope is 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.”

Email Lorna at lorna.sheridan@sonomanews.com.

But what about Kent Hall?

From 1965 through 2003, Santa Rosa Junior College had one dormitory for students wishing to live on campus. That 72-bed building, called Kent Hall, was demolished in 2003. There has been no on-campus housing offered since that time.

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