STORY BY HAL SAGA & CRYSTAL CORTEZ, STAFF WRITERS
PHOTO BY CRYSTAL CORTEZ, STAFF WRITER
With the news about the development of housing on campus spreading throughout the student body, few select students have been able to share their opinions on the project.
Concerns about students’ affordability and housing insecurities from a 2018 study with the Hope Center at Temple University urged the North Orange County Community College District to construct plans to ask the state about grants and build living accommodations.
Campus Capital Projects Manager, Allison Coburn, spoke at the Spring 2023 Opening Day ceremony to update the faculty and students about the ongoing project that will be built on Lot 6.
Coburn discussed the enrollment status at Cypress College in which 66% of the students were part time and only 34% were full time students. She provided additional results from an Institutional Research and Planning survey sent out to the student body on Dec. 1, 2022.
Coburn stated, “If affordable student housing became an option, 76% of those respondents would transition to full time,” highlighting the beneficiary outcomes that the housing project would succumb to.
The NOCCCD Board of Trustees has suggested adopting a resolution to approve the Affordable Student Housing Construction Grant Application for the college, according to their regular meeting agenda on Jan. 24.
Students have shown positive remarks on California giving grants to the college that the CCP will use for housing.
“I think it’s necessary,” mortuary science student, Violet Badua, said, “It was something I would be taking advantage of right now if it was already a thing.”
“It’s great because California’s really expensive,” said Valerie Prado, a student ambassador and English major. Prado added on that being a student in itself and caring is costly even with a personal grant.
Prado also addressed her concerns about what issues will arise once the dorms are built.
“It’s very broad. Like what, what does it mean to give student housing?” Prado said.
“Is it just the student? Is it gonna be like a dorm? […] A lot of our students are, um, older adults and most of them have families now, so would that include their family?” Furthermore, she posed the question of what exactly the requirements for living on campus will entail.
President Dr. JoAnna Schilling said the plans are to build around 300 beds in total.
Communications student Xavier Contreras said less students are present in person in comparison to the years prior to 2020 due to a handful taking the majority of classes online.
“It’s kind of weird that we’re having new buildings […] but yet, there’s not gonna be a lot of people moving in,” Contreras said, adding that the project is big and might not be fully utilized.
Badua said her concerns were about safety. She recalled hearing stories from different colleges with student housing that were “scary.”
Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa was one of the first community colleges in Southern California to build on-campus housing. The dorms, named The Harbour, opened in Fall 2020 and “can accommodate over 800 residents,” according to Jamie Kammerman, OCC Housing and Residential Education Director.
Although Kammerman and the HRE staff at OCC offer assistance to their students, those who have experienced living there spoke up about feeling discomfort.
Mia Espinoza, an OCC student living at The Harbour, said to the Coast Report that being around older residents over the age of 30 made her “fear everyday what is going to happen.” The Harbour is unable to make decisions who can dorm there based on age due to being owned by The Scion, a student housing company.
The Harbour has also been subject to incidents such as drunk residents, theft, multiple deaths, and more.
Student housing at Cypress College, however, is still an ongoing project in its early stages primarily concerned with grants between NOCCCD and the state. Choosing how and who to dorm with, especially in regards to gender and age, has not been announced yet.
Prado said that she knew of some high schoolers going to Cypress College who would be interested in the idea once housing is built.
“People wanna move out and become more independent,” Contreras said. “I think it’d be good for a small audience, and I think as the years go by, more of the student body will come back.”
“On paper, sounds great; in action, it might not be as clean as we want it to be, but there’s only one way to find out, right?” said Badua.
Developments about student housing will be announced to the public through the college, CCP, and the NOCCCD in their regular board meetings.