Meal plans go up, housing goes down

Fernanda Martinez, Editor-in-Chief

A week after the private off-campus student dorms proposal was denied a zoning permit by the city of Bakersfield, CSU Bakersfield Student Housing announced new pricing rates for the 2019-20 academic school year.

The new pricing rates per semester are $6,075 for a single room, $4,500 for a double, and $3,825 for a triple, according to the CSUB website. Compared to the current semester, the difference is $23 less on a single, $569 on a double, and $372 on a triple room.

Students are still required to pay for a meal plan of $2,142 each per semester. The pricing for the meal plan increased $109 from the current semester.

CSUB Director of Public Affairs and Communications, Jennifer Self, said that President Lynnette Zelezny took into consideration the feedback she got from students regarding what they wanted out of student housing.

Self said that the new pricing rates were not in response to Coleraine Capitol Group’s proposal for the off-campus student dormitories, which advertised rooms at half the price of CSUB’s on-campus dorms.

After the Bakersfield Board of Zoning Adjustment decided not to grant a zoning permit for the off-campus dorms, Coleraine president and founder, David Moon, told The Runner that the company had firmly decided not to appeal the decision of the board.

Moon stated that unlike other CSU’s they have worked with, they did not have support of the city’s community development director, CSUB president, nor the surrounding neighborhoods.

“I’m very sorry we were not able to serve the students of CSU Bakersfield and their families and sponsors with our planned academically supportive student housing apartments,” said Moon.

When Student Housing East was constructed, the university stated that there would be two phases of construction. The three-building, 500-bed facility is phase one. Phase two would include amenities like a swimming pool and dining area.

Self stated that construction plans for phase two would not be happening anytime soon, however.

“We first need to get our occupancy rate up before we can look at a phase two,” said Self. “Right now the immediate goal is to get the occupancy rate up.”
Student Housing East currently has an occupancy rate of 64%.

At the end of the current semester, the university will be closing the doors for housing on Student Housing West. Self stated that the university does not want to keep up with an older building.

The move seems to be due to housing being broke and needing to fill those rooms. This break of tradition feels like a betrayal to me and many other students who were told they could live here for their academic future.

— Matt Valenzuela, current Housing West resident and computer science major.

Valenzuela is also concerned that he will have limited space in Housing East. He stated that the computer science courses he takes require an ample work and storage space that allows for all his equipment to fit and run. Valenzuela is originally from Louisiana and is not sure if he will stay in the campus dorms or move home.

“I may just do everything online,” said Valenzuela. “That’s like one benefit from being a computer science major.”

Destinee Sims, CSUB English major, said that it was a smart idea to lower the prices, as it will allow more students the option to live on-campus, but meal plans should be optional in her opinion.

“Honestly, I’d be a lot more likely to live in the dorms if we didn’t have the meal plan and had some sort of kitchen access,” said Sims.

Sims currently lives with her family but says that “living on-campus would be pretty convenient during the semester.”

Dolores Garcia graduated with a major in education last December and lived on-campus for two years. Garcia said she enjoyed living on-campus as it was convenient but disliked the required meal plan.

“The way it worked with my meal plan was, you get 100 meals at the Runner Café and 865 pre-paid dollars to spend on the campus restaurants a semester,” said Garcia. “I simply didn’t go through $2,000 worth of food a semester.”

Garcia said that one semester she had around 30 Runner Café meals leftover and $400 worth of food for the campus restaurants.

“That’s money I couldn’t get back,” said Garcia. “It really hurt.”