Campus: Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo -- March 03, 2003
Cal Poly Seeks Permission To Build New Campus
Housing for 2,700 Students Through Partnership with Capstone Corp.
Cal Poly is asking California State University trustees for conceptual
approval to enter a public-private partnership to develop a 2,700-bed
apartment-style student housing complex on campus, to be phased in during
the next three years.
The university has received a proposal from Capstone Development Corp.,
a private firm that builds and operates student housing complexes on
or near university campuses across the nation, to develop the complex.
Under the proposal, Capstone would finance, develop and build the student
housing project. On successful completion and delivery of the project
and acceptance by Cal Poly, the CSU system would issue bonds to purchase
the project from Capstone. The bonds would be repaid through revenues
generated by rent paid by students living in the new housing, explained
Larry Kelley, Cal Poly’s vice president for administration and
Cal Poly would manage the complex as part of its student housing operations,
To offset the loss of agricultural land used for the campus housing
project, Capstone is also proposing to transfer ownership of 1,254 acres
of prime agricultural land in the Edna Valley to the university –
including established commercial vineyards, grazing land and equestrian
“We believe this is a win/win situation for the university and
the community,” said Cal Poly President Warren J. Baker. “Adding
more student housing on campus has always been an important part of
our planning. For the past several years, we have been looking for a
cost effective public-private partnership that meets state requirements
so that we can accelerate our plans for additional affordable student
housing. We firmly believe that approval of this project will be a significant
asset to the campus and will help alleviate some of the community housing
Capstone’s proposal calls for construction of a campus student
housing complex that would include one-, two-, and four-bedroom apartments,
a recreational swimming pool and parking for 2,000 cars. The firm estimates
it could build the project for under $270 million.
If approved by trustees, the project would bring the total student housing
available on the Cal Poly campus to 6,280 beds by 2006. The campus currently
has 2,780 student housing beds. An additional 800-bed student complex
is currently under construction and scheduled to open this fall.
The campus housing complex proposed by Capstone would be built on a
site previously identified in the campus master plan as a location for
student housing, near the 800-bed apartment complex currently under
construction. The 27-acre site proposed for the 2,700-bed project is
currently used by Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture in support
of Animal Science programs.
“This area was identified in the university master plan as a site
ideal for future conversion to student housing,” stressed Linda
Dalton, Cal Poly’s executive vice provost for planning and chief
planning officer. "This location meets all seven principles identified
for new residential communities on campus, including enhanced opportunities
for student learning, a range of housing choices, availability of support
services, accessibility, quality, financial feasibility and sensitivity
to community impacts.
To offset the loss of grazing land, Capstone is proposing to transfer
ownership of 1,254 acres of prime agricultural land just south of the
San Luis Obispo city limits to Cal Poly for use by equestrian program
students and Horticulture and Crop Science Department programs.
The acreage is a part of Edna Ranch and includes a 277-acre vineyard,
a 28-stall horse barn, a riding ring, a hay barn and a caretaker’s
residence at the equestrian site. If the proposal is approved, Cal Poly
plans to continue to use the property for agricultural purposes in support
of its educational mission. A full-time Cal Poly staff employee would
occupy the caretaker’s residence to monitor the care and use of
the ranch land and facilities.
“This would be a tremendous benefit to our students and several
of our agriculture programs,” said College of Agriculture Dean
David Wehner. “It would also be a significant asset to the wine
and viticulture program currently being developed at Cal Poly.”
Existing chardonnay, syrah and pinot noir vineyards on the ranch would
provide an “outdoor lab” for Horticulture and Crop Science
students. Income from the vineyards – currently in premium wine
grape production – would provide resources to Cal Poly and the
College of Agriculture’s academic programs, Wehner added.
The California State University Board of Trustees will consider the
proposal at their March 11 meeting. If approved by the trustees, initial
planning can continue with further board review and action in May.
For more details on Capstone, visit the Web site of its Capstone West
division in San Diego at: http://www.capstonecompanies.com/about_capstonewest.asp,
or its corporate Web site at:
Contact: Bill Boldt, Vice President, Advancement (805) 756-1445
Cal Poly-Capstone Student Housing Proposal:
Will the new housing complex be apartments or traditional
residence hall-style units?
A: The facility will have one-, two-, and four bedroom apartments—each
with full kitchen facilities. The complex will also offer “apartment
style” amenities such as a swimming pool, on-site parking and
12,000 square feet of “support” areas such as a deli-market.
When would construction begin?
A: The plan is to begin construction in late 2003 or early 2004.
When would the apartments be ready?
A: The developer hopes to have some apartments ready as early as fall
2005. All are projected to be completed and occupied by fall 2006. A
parking garage proposed as part of the project could be ready as early
as the 2004-2005 academic year.
Who will get to live in the new student housing project?
A: Cal Poly students. However, if there is space available, students
from Cuesta College could be housed there.
How many parking places will be added as part of the Capstone
A: Approximately 2,000 parking spaces will be included in the project
in a mix of structured and surface parking.
What will it cost to rent the apartments?
A: Rent is projected to be competitive with the other apartment-style
units on and off campus.
What environmental impacts would the student housing project
have on Cal Poly lands?
A: The location of the proposed project is consistent with the university’s
master plan, and has already been identified in the master plan approved
by California State University trustees as a site for future student
housing. As part of the proposed student housing project, existing agricultural
facilities and operations will move farther away from the Poly Canyon
How will the University use the newly acquired agriculture land
in Edna Valley?
A: The land will be used by the College of Agriculture as a supplemental
resource for some equestrian programs and Horticulture and Crop Science
Department programs. The land will remain in agricultural use, providing
Cal Poly students and faculty the opportunity to work and learn in a
mature premium wine-grape vineyard. The Edna Ranch vineyards would be
the third and newest Cal Poly vineyard.
Will Cal Poly hold classes on the Edna Ranch land?
A: Cal Poly students in crop science and viticulture classes may attend
some class sessions on the property, most likely in the vineyards. The
equestrian facility will be used by a limited number of Cal Poly students
under university supervision. Cal Poly students have been actively involved
in cattle management programs on the ranch.
Will Cal Poly activities generate more traffic in the Edna Ranch
A: The use of the Edna Ranch facilities by students would be limited.
The agricultural land on the main Cal Poly campus is the primary focus
for the university’s agricultural programs, operations and classes.
A small number of students, supervised by faculty, can be expected to
periodically visit the Edna Ranch facilities.
Who is Capstone?
A: Capstone Development Corporation is a developer and operator of student
housing on and near campuses across the United States. Capstone West,
the division of Capstone that presented this proposal, is headquartered
in San Diego. Capstone will take on the risk in developing and building
the complex housing and parking.
Why does Cal Poly want to partner with Capstone to build student
A: This project includes the transfer of more than 1,200 acres of replacement
agricultural land to the university, allowing Cal Poly’s College
of Agriculture to enhance both its Horticulture and Crop Science programs
and equestrian offerings. The project also allows Cal Poly to establish
standards for construction and furnishings for the student housing complex,
and to monitor and approve (or change) the progress and quality of the
student housing complex, while protecting Cal Poly from development
and construction risks and costs. The per-bed and per-square-foot cost
of the student housing project proposed by Capstone is less than the
per-bed and per-square-foot cost of the new 800-bed complex financed
by state university dormitory revenue.
How does Cal Poly’s on-campus student housing compare
to student housing at the other 22 universities in the California State
A: If the Capstone proposal is approved, Cal Poly will have 6,280 beds
by 2006 – more than twice as much on-campus student housing as
any university in the CSU system.
Cal Poly and San Diego State University currently offer the largest
amount of on-campus housing in the CSU system. At the projected fall
2003 opening of the 800-bed student housing project currently under
construction, Cal Poly will have a total of 3,583 beds and San Diego
State University will have 3,600 beds. However, the San Diego State
number will drop to 3000 in 2004.
San Jose State University is the second largest provider of on-campus
student housing with 1,800 beds. SJSU is expected to add housing accommodating
up to 3,600 beds on campus in coming years.
CSU Monterey Bay currently has 2,050 campus student housing beds, and
will increase that number to 2,818 during the next three years.
CSU Long Beach currently has 1,962 on-campus student housing beds.