When the $206-million facility known as Campus Village opens in August, it will be one of the newest cutting-edge housing complexes on a U.S. university campus. And the views from the upper-floor units will be spectacular — the campus and city skyline to the west, and the mountains to the east.
With three buildings varying in height from seven to 15 floors, Campus Village contains nearly one million square feet and is the largest construction project ever undertaken by the California State University. Diagonally across the campus from the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, its location on the southeast corner of the campus provides a natural focal point for residence life.
"When those rooms are filled with students, faculty and staff, a new and much stronger sense of community will take shape and will radiate out across the campus," Interim President Don W. Kassing said recently. "I expect it will overlap and combine with the lively sense of community we see now in the new library."
What do students really like?
Before architects began plans for Campus Village, the university held focus groups with students, faculty, and staff members to find out what they wanted in the new facility, according to Diana Tran, community relations coordinator for University Housing.
"Freshman," she said, "told us they favor an environment that has access to a lot of people." Thus, The Suites — the building housing freshmen — was created. "Most of the units contain a living room, a kitchenette for snacks, four two-person bedrooms and two bathrooms," Tran said. Meal plans are mandatory for residents of The Suites.
The other building for students, called The Apartments, is the largest of the three (1,400 beds) and is designed for sophomores, juniors, seniors, graduate and international students, who said in focus groups that they favored a more private, independent-living environment. As a result, 70 percent of the bedrooms in The Apartments accommodate one person.
Rising to 15 stories at its highest point, The Apartments offer residents a variety of living options: studios, three-bedroom, four-bedroom or five-bedroom units.
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Besides accommodating 1,997 students, Campus Village will provide housing for 198 faculty and staff members as well as campus visitors. The total capacity of nearly 2,200 people will be more than three times the number of students formerly accommodated in the three three-story "red bricks" which were demolished in early 2003 to make room for the new complex, Tran said.
Each apartment is furnished and comes with a full kitchen (including a refrigerator, stove, microwave and dishwasher). Meal plans are optional for residents of The Apartments.
"Campus Village has provided us with the unique opportunity to design on-campus housing based on direct student input," said Tran.
All floors in The Suites and The Apartments are coed, but individual units are single gender.
The complex includes two levels of underground parking, and students have access to several community amenities, including a gaming arcade as well as an interactive gaming center, full-service computer lab, recreational and study areas, conference rooms, laundry facilities, a Subway sandwich shop and a convenience store.
The rental cost includes all utilities (gas, water, electricity, garbage) as well as telephone/voice-mail service, basic cable, video on demand, and high-speed Internet access.
The third building in the complex will house apartments for faculty, staff and campus visitors.
While the major purpose for building the Campus Village was to increase on-campus living accommodations, the project has several positive side effects, according to Susan Hansen, director of University Housing. "Research," she says, "shows that students who live on campus tend to have higher grades, graduate at higher rates, and are more satisfied with their university experience."
If the Campus Village fills and there is a demand for more student housing, the other three red bricks (Hoover, Royce and Washburn Halls) and Joe West Hall will be leveled for phases two and three of the project.
The Campus Village architect is Niles Bolton Associates; the contractor is Clark Construction; and the project manager is Jones Lang LaSalle.
For more information on the Campus Village, visit housing.sjsu.edu/campusvillage.
—Ron Bottini, '64