Off-campus dorms face resistance

Coleraine Capital Group is proposing to build two, five story student dormitories on the corner of Stockdale Highway and Coffee Road.
Image courtesy of Coleraine Capital Group, Inc.

Coleraine Capital Group is proposing to build two, five story student dormitories on the corner of Stockdale Highway and Coffee Road. Image courtesy of Coleraine Capital Group, Inc.

Fernanda Martinez, Editor-in-Chief

News of the off-campus student dorms that are proposed to be built across the street from CSU Bakersfield has brought mixed feelings.

Coleraine Capital Group, Inc. developer David Moon has been in the student housing industry for about nine years. He said that his company is constantly looking for sites at walkable distances from CSU campuses to provide student housing. That is what brought him to CSUB.

The topic has brought different views to CSUB and the Bakersfield community. During Moon’s meeting with Bakersfield residents on March 18, residents made it clear that they did not want the project in their neighborhood as they expressed concerns over safety and disruptive behavior from students. There were not many CSUB students in attendance and only one student spoke to express her opinions in front of the crowd.

Moon has stated that the dorms he intends to build would be similar to the ones his company has built near Stanislaus State, CSU Monterey Bay, and San Jose State.

“Every now and then there are noise complaints whether it is student housing or any other type of housing when you got that many people,” said Moon. “From time to time, you may have issues with that many people, but different than most apartments, we have a strict set of rules and regulations in addition to the lease provisions.”

Moon added that the student tenants are first warned if they cause any type of disturbance. If continued, they can face a fine and eviction.

“We stay on top of that because our purpose is to create an environment where students can succeed in their studies,” said Moon.

Heather Simmons, who graduated from CSUB in 2017, currently attends Stanislaus State and lives in the student housing complex that Moon built in Turlock across the street from Stanislaus State.

Simmons said that she has her own bedroom and bathroom and shares a full kitchen and livingroom with three roommates who also have their own bedroom and bathroom.
Simmons pays $720 a month for her space in Turlock.

“I did the math, which I think is less than I would be paying on the campus compared to a single room,” said Simmons.

As far as safety regards in the complex Simmons lives, she stated that there have been some issues with students drinking and being noisy but it has never gotten out of hand.
“We do have security. It’s pretty quiet and the apartments are gated, so that’s nice,” said Simmons.

Students currently living on campus have expressed satisfaction with their dorm experiences, though some think there needs to be improvements.

Mia Lopez, a senior majoring in sociology, lives in Student Housing West, which is only open to upper division students.

“It’s not the greatest, but it’s not the worst,” Lopez said. “The lack of a kitchen definitely is a big deal for me, because I love to cook and then you’re forced to eat the food on campus.”

On the contrary, other students have said they benefited from the campus student dorms.

“I feel it’s very helpful as a student [to live in the dorms],” said Sneha Guduru, director of student housing relations for Associated Students, Inc.

“I can have my room to myself, and everything that’s needed is available and pretty accessible. I’m not saying I wouldn’t do as well if I was living in an apartment, but I feel like it’s more helpful when everything’s ther on campus,” said Guduru.

Dolores Garcia, a liberal studies major, who graduated in December 2018 lived in a single dorm from 2017 to 2018.

Garcia mentioned it was easier not having to worry about waking up earlier to get to classes because everything is a close walk away. However, the meal plan was something she did not enjoy about her on campus living experience.

“It’s not like I could use my leftover credits the following term,” said Garcia. “They need to be more flexible.”

CSUB President Lynnette Zelezny wrote an opinion piece for the Bakersfield Californian on March 17 urging the city of Bakersfield to oppose Moon’s proposal

“We were taken by surprise when we were told about the opinion piece that Dr. Zelezny put in the local paper there,” said Moon.

Zelezny stated that CSUB would ensure that students living on campus would have a great support system.

“This is the thing that we are most focused on in our opposition,” said Zelezny. “We really do stand by this as the best practice.”

Moon mentioned that he and his company had asked for a meeting with Zelezny about three months ago but were unable to meet with her.

“I never spoke with her directly but apparently her staff or her assistant told us that she didn’t have any openings on her calendar for a couple of months. So they recommended that we speak with Thom Davis [CSUB Vice President for Business and Administrative Services],” said Moon.

Zelezny did confirm that Davis has met with Moon on several occassions.

According to Moon, he wanted to keep Davis informed on what his company intended to do.

“We shared with him what we had done to serve other CSU campuses. He knows a lot of the folks we dealt with at the other campuses, so I encouraged him to speak with those folks that he knew about their experience with us at their campuses.”

Zelezny stated that Davis explained to Moon that CSUB wanted to grow its campus housing.

Zelezny’s opinion piece came as a shock to Moon. He stated that this is the first time someone from a campus has opposed any of his projects.

Moon said that CSU Monterey Bay had in fact ended up becoming partners with his company. The university had decided to manage Moon’s property and later purchased the buildings.
The CSUB dorms are currently at 64% capacity, to which a lot of students have found it is cheaper to live outside of campus.

An apartment at Edgewater located on the east side of CSUB would cost approximately $1,025 monthly for a one bedroom and bathroom and $1,220 monthly for two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

A single room and single bathroom at The Springs Apartment Homes, also located near CSUB would be approximately $975 monthly. An apartment with two bedrooms and two bathrooms would be approximately $1,455 monthly.

Apartments at Quailwood, El Rio Gardens, and Cambridge Village, which are all a six minute drive from CSUB would cost approximately $870 to $1,500 monthly depending on the location.

At CSUB A student living in Student Housing East, pays around $2,032 a month combined for their single room and meal plan. At Student Housing West, a student is paying $1,648 a month for their single bed and meal plan.

The next step in the development is to obtain a permit from the Bakersfield Board of Zoning Adjustment for use of the off campus dorms instead of commercial offices. The meeting is scheduled for April 9.

Runner staff Katie Goree, Allie Page, and Violeta Trujillo contributed to this story.


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