UC San Diego to spend $1.1 billion to build huge student center and campus housing

A rendering depicts the Triton Center, which will house student services as well as health, alumni and outreach programs.
A rendering depicts the Triton Center, which will house student services as well as health, alumni and outreach programs.
(UC San Diego)

The Triton Center is meant to become the beating heart of the university, and Ridgewalk North will become one of the school’s largest residential villages.


Continuing a decade-long boom, the University of California Board of Regents has given its San Diego campus in La Jolla permission to build a huge student center and a 2,400-bed housing complex that will jointly cost $1.1 billion.

The campus said it will start constructing the Triton Center and the Ridgewalk North Living and Learning Neighborhood this summer while the school is in the midst of building two other villages that will house 3,130 students.

The projects are part of a larger effort by the regents to accommodate thousands more students, primarily from California. Over the past decade, the system’s enrollment has soared by 55,610 students, hitting 294,309. The growth has caused a serious housing shortage.

“We’re very committed to expanding student housing,” said Rich Leib, a San Diego businessman who serves as chairman of the Board of Regents. “Studies have shown that students do better when they live close together. And the housing we’re talking about generally has rents that are 20 to 30 percent below market prices.”

A substantial portion of that growth is occurring at UCSD, which still has room to expand. The campus currently has about 43,000 students, up from 29,517 in fall 2013. Chancellor Pradeep Khosla says enrollment could reach 50,000 in about a decade.

The $428 million Triton Center complex will be composed of four buildings that will house everything from student health services to an alumni and welcome center. One of the buildings will include a 500-person event space and an art gallery.

A rendering shows the Ridgewalk North Living and Learning Neighborhood.
(UC San Diego )

In addition to 2,400 beds for undergraduates, Ridgewalk North will feature administrative and teaching space for Thurgood Marshall College, the School of Global Policy and Strategy and the Department of Economics, the campus said. There will be 19 new classrooms, a dining center and a 150-seat lecture hall.

The village will look like a small city. One of its buildings will be 18 stories tall, another will be 16 stories and a third will be 10. A separate academic building will rise to six stories. UCSD already is building six residential towers that range in height from 16 to 22 stories.

Ridgewalk North will be not far from Geisel Library. It is scheduled to open in late 2025. Triton Center, which will be close to a campus Blue Line trolley station, will open in 2026.

The projects are being built “in pursuit of the intellectual, physical and cultural transformation of our campus,” Khosla said in a statement.