Regents Committee Approves Emerson Hall Replacement, Hears Update on Campus Housing

The University of California Regents’ Finance and Capital Strategies Committee yesterday (March 14) approved the budget and design for replacement of Emerson Hall, a residence hall at the University of California, Davis. They also received an overview of UC Davis’ plans for student housing, including planned projects at Orchard Park and West Village.

UC Davis is implementing the most ambitious student housing and dining plan in its history, Chancellor Gary S. May told the committee. The overall strategy combines university-owned first-year residence halls with public-private development to deliver apartment-style housing for upper division and graduate students, he said. Looking ahead, the campus will add approximately 5,200 student beds over the next six years.

The Emerson Replacement Project includes demolition of a 50-year old building and replacing it with three new buildings, one of five stories and two of four stories, with a total of 809 residence hall beds, said Emily Galindo, associate vice chancellor for Student Affairs. The new complex also will include informal interaction space, a Student Advising Center, multipurpose room, music room, lounge spaces, laundry rooms and study rooms.

Emerson Hall is located in the Cuarto neighborhood just north of Russell Boulevard. It is adjacent to Webster Hall, which is currently being redeveloped. The construction cost of approximately $109 million will be repaid over time through student residence fees. 

New housing options for families, graduate, transfer students

The committee also discussed the planned housing developments at Orchard Park and West Village. UC Davis is currently negotiating with University Student Living to develop these projects.

The current proposal from USL for Orchard Park would provide 200 two-bedroom apartments (400 beds) for students with families, as called for in the original request for proposals, and an additional 1,200 beds for single graduate students on the same site. At West Village, current proposals call for 3,800 new student beds in addition to the 2,200 students already living at the site. Up to 1,200 of these new beds would be master leased by UC Davis as housing for undergraduate transfer students.

Affordability is a key objective for both the Orchard Park and West Village projects, said Kelly Ratliff, vice chancellor for Finance, Operations and Administration. The goal is to set rents at levels significantly below market rates in the city of Davis.

Current plans call for the new Orchard Park and West Village developments to open as soon as fall 2020 and the new Emerson Hall to open by fall 2022. Webster Hall, currently under development, is expected to open for fall 2019.

Long-range planning

The Webster, Emerson, West Village and Orchard Park projects are included in the upcoming Long Range Development Plan for UC Davis. The LRDP designates site planning areas for further housing growth to accommodate 8,500 students living on campus. With each housing project, UC Davis explores options for maximizing affordability, increasing density and enriching community life. Through extensive public outreach, the draft LRDP balances community input with long-term planning to help meet the higher education needs of California. The environmental impact report for the LRDP will be available for public comment in early April. 

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