UC San Diego’s quest to create a massive residential campus got a lift Wednesday when the university received preliminary approval to construct housing for 1,400 students near Price Center.
The $320 million project was given an initial OK from the University of California Board of Regents, allowing UCSD contractors to start designing the complex.
If plans proceed as expected, UCSD will begin building the so-called Pepper Canyon West Housing center in mid-2020, next to a Blue Line Trolley station that’s being constructed along Interstate 5.
Construction will begin just as the university is completing the North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood, a $627 million project that includes two classroom, office and research towers, retail space, dining facilities and housing for 2,000 students.
UCSD currently has housing for 14,598 of its nearly 39,000 students. The campus says it will be able to house an additional 7,140 students by 2023. By then, enrollment could exceed 42,000, which would make UCSD among the largest schools in the western U.S.
The university is covering the campus with residential buildings, in part, because off-campus housing in the La Jolla area is more expensive than many of its students can afford. UCSD also is trying to make it possible for students to find virtually anything they need — from housing to entertainment to retail shopping — on campus. The school says it is currently negotiating to allow retailer Target to take over the top floor of the university bookstore.
Near-term plans also call for the construction a major engineering facility known as Franklin Antonio Hall near Geisel Library. Construction will begin in the fall. Over the summer, the school will begin work on another large structure, the Design and Innovation Building, which will be in the Pepper Canyon area.
University planners also have been discussing the possibility of constructing housing for up to 2,000 students on the southwest corner of campus, near the La Jolla Playhouse.
UCSD is among the fastest growing schools in the country. Enrollment increased by nearly 11,000 over the past decade. About 7,200 of those students are from foreign countries, notably China.
Campus officials say that, for the first time, they expect to collect more revenue this fall from foreign students than from students from California and the rest of the U.S. Foreign students pay roughly twice as much to attend the school as California residents.