UCSB Continues With New Student Housing Development

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An exterior drawing of Munger Hall at UC Santa Barbara
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By Shelly Leachman, UC Santa Barbara

Taking a key step to advance a project that will transform the campus residential experience — and the campus itself — UC Santa Barbara has released a notice of preparation for a new student housing development. The building was previously approved as part of the university’s Long Range Development Plan.

Munger Hall — a joint venture between the university and philanthropist Charles Munger — will fulfill the university’s commitment to provide not only more student housing, but housing that is both better and more affordable for students. It will do so with flourish and elegance. Increasing existing housing by 50% with single-occupancy rooms, the development’s visionary design elements are meant to maximize individual space for students and provide a living environment unparalleled in undergraduate housing, firmly planting the campus at the cutting edge of such construction.

“We are deeply grateful to Charlie Munger for his vision, his leadership, and his commitment to creating a living and learning environment that will further support the academic success and personal well-being of our students,” said Chancellor Henry T. Yang. “His inspired and revolutionary design concept for our new housing project will benefit the students who live there, as well as our entire campus and the greater community. With an abundance of academic space that includes study areas, meeting rooms and lecture halls, and a wealth of social spaces that bring students together in community with one another, Munger Hall will offer an unprecedented residential experience.” 

The building will be situated near Harder Stadium off Mesa Road, on a site currently occupied by the university’s Facilities Management division. That group will relocate to a business park in Goleta.

Residents of Munger Hall will be drawn from existing enrollment, providing the opportunity for more students to live right on the main campus in solo occupancy rooms rather than in surrounding communities. In addition, once the new building is completed, the university will be able to eliminate triple rooms in all its other residence halls.

Munger Hall demonstrates UC Santa Barbara’s commitment to housing students in quality and cost-effective accommodations as a net benefit to the students, the campus and the community.

The university’s 2010 Long Range Development Plan called for an increase in enrollments, with the construction of new housing (beds) to accommodate an additional 5,000 students. The Munger project will deliver on that goal. It also redistributes students in existing housing and provides much-improved accommodations and amenities than are normally available to students.

Every resident will have their own private bedroom within fully furnished suites and “houses” — 8 rooms to a suite, and 8 suites to a house — featuring shared amenities including fully outfitted kitchens, Smart TV’s, laundry rooms, study spaces and lounge areas. The building will have an entire floor dedicated to additional shared amenities and spaces, such as a fitness center, a demonstration kitchen, a café, a market and other retail space, and a full-service restaurant that also provide student employment opportunities. Program leisure space will feature a recreation room, a reading room, conference rooms, music practice space, and a lecture hall. The first floor will include student services and classrooms, utility rooms, live-in staff apartments and a grand lobby entrance.


A landscaped courtyard within Munger Hall at UC Santa Barbara

 

The design of the project, as well as how it will be built, can be credited to Munger’s own sweeping and inspired vision for the university’s new student housing. The outcomes he has detailed from the start of his joint venture with UC Santa Barbara specify everything from building materials to ventilation, to improving student happiness and educational effectiveness, to the many academic spaces amenities it will offer — all much more affordable, and much better, than is typical for such endeavors.

Munger has characterized the design as “our version of ship architecture on land” for its efficient use of space and for being all-inclusive — nearly everything a resident could want or need is available on site. He has said his primary goal for the building is that it ultimately be “so much better than normal that it will become widely admired as among the best.”

The building design and construction is as impressive as its amenities, with sustainability front and center: the project is currently tracking for LEED gold status from the U.S. Green Building Council. Heating and hot water will be all-electric and connected to the campuswide chilled water loop (versus burning natural gas), in alignment with the 2020 UC Policy on Sustainable Practices standard that no new building use onsite fossil fuel combustion for space and water heating. Access to public transit and transportation alternatives also are among sustainability goals for the project, with new bike paths, sidewalks and two new bus stops being designed to connect the building’s population to the broader campus circulation network. The spectacular top floor, which will include a landscaped courtyard atop the building, will have a translucent roof that will provide natural lighting, natural ventilation and an open view of the sky, the ocean and the mountains.

And then there is the construction process itself, which is considered revolutionary for this type of project. The modular residential units will be prefabricated elsewhere then installed on the building foundation at a pace of about 25 pods per week; an entire residential floor of the building will require only 20 working days of construction. That lends the design significant added value in time saved; traditional construction typically requires builders on-site for an extended length of time — and well beyond what will be needed for Munger Hall.

Cost savings also are expected to be significant with this state-of-the-art construction method, which could become a model for universities around the country.

The project design maximizes the proximity of services and amenities for the students, according to Mr. Munger, and gives UC Santa Barbara a “marvelous opportunity to gain an advantage” in student recruitment and retention.

Filing the notice of preparation is the latest step in an ongoing planning process for the new building that has been rigorous — and continuous.


A multipurpose academic space inside Munger Hall at UC Santa Barbara

The university also has affirmed its intent to conduct an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) as required by the California Environmental Quality Act — an important milestone in the project entitlement process.

The EIR will take several months to complete; any impacts that are identified will be categorized based on the level of mitigation required. Once a complete draft report is issued, it will include any concerns or comments raised by the public. The report will eventually have to be certified by the UC Regents and the California Coastal Commission.

A public comment period for providing written feedback is open now and will conclude Friday, August 13, at 5 p.m. The community also will have opportunities to comment at public hearings during the EIR process. The first of these, a public scoping meeting, will be held July 28, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. via Zoom. More information and the link can be found at bap.ucsb.edu/mungerhousing.

Two other campus building projects are also moving forward. Approximately 70 additional units of for-sale faculty housing are currently under construction. And plans for the Ocean Road faculty and staff housing project are proceeding. The Ocean Road project will include 540 for-sale and rental housing units for faculty and staff.  All proposed faculty and staff housing will be phased to meet anticipated demand. 

Once Ocean Road is completed, UCSB is planning to build four additional housing developments on four planned redevelopment sites: the West Campus Apartments, Devereux, Storke Apartments and Santa Ynez Apartments. These projects will replace existing student housing capacity within each site, and construct remaining needed faculty and staff housing units.

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pstarSR Aug 02, 2021 02:40 PM
UCSB Continues With New Student Housing Development

would love to see this type of "visionary" ideas applied to the people that live in this city. hopefully some kids going through UCSB will deviate from Mungers exploitative business practices and move our society away from the 1%'er strangle hold. no matter how many donations they do, they are still the problem.

Byzantium Aug 02, 2021 03:13 PM
UCSB Continues With New Student Housing Development

Anyone can move away from the "1%'s stranglehold" simply by not buying or using what they are selling. And if they created a monopoly so you can't get go anywhere else, then bust up that monopoly using legislation in place the offers that protection. Market forces are good, but so are fair competition regulations.

biguglystick Aug 03, 2021 08:32 AM
UCSB Continues With New Student Housing Development

PSTARSB. Agreed! The 1%er strangle hold has to END. And they need to be paying taxes and having more responsibility to the communities they profit off of. With great power comes great responsibility, right? Make them pay their fair share of taxes!

SBTownie Aug 02, 2021 04:17 PM
UCSB Continues With New Student Housing Development

All of the rooms with no windows should come with a little TV installed that livestreams the weather outside. I hope the people designing the ventilation and air flow systems know what they're doing. We're still attempting to get out of a pandemic. Fresh, non-contaminated air in these windowless rooms is crucial.

sbdude Aug 02, 2021 04:18 PM
UCSB Continues With New Student Housing Development

Somebody has to create the wealth that pays for this kind of thing. Hopefully some kids going through UCSB will create ideas and wealth and jobs and enable more people to live better lives.

Byzantium Aug 02, 2021 07:35 PM
UCSB Continues With New Student Housing Development

Need to do more than "hope" better educated state residents will return in full and more to the state that supported their higher education. Easy to audit - where are the results from the past 20 years?

oops Aug 03, 2021 04:14 AM
UCSB Continues With New Student Housing Development

you may want to look at the list of classes offered... must explain the high number of graduates with no jobs, but they had one heck of a good time! They are now the ones demanding tuition forgiveness - how is that for "creating ideas" and wealth & jobs?

Ahchooo Aug 02, 2021 04:35 PM
UCSB Continues With New Student Housing Development

With the top being an open courtyard, I guess they won’t have solar panels. Sure hope they’ll have some backup power for outages—it will be unlivable if the air system goes down.

goletadude Aug 02, 2021 05:10 PM
UCSB Continues With New Student Housing Development

UCSB will pay NO Property taxes to support the additional police, fire and other emergency services required to deal with this huge added population forced on IV and Goleta. Imagine thousands more students will flood Goleta and IV to drink and party on weekends. A massive new building, UCSB conveniently does not mention the total square footage in this article, ten or eleven stories tall wow! Taller that Francisco Torres on Stroke rd and as tall as storke tower?. Sad to see how the developers (Yes UCSB is the biggest developer in SB County) have hi-jacked the build green concept. 2020 UC Policy on Sustainable Practices has little to do with how a piece of land can be sustainable, rather some UCSB PhD funded by Orange County Developers crafted words to make those who think they care about the environment support this way out of size bulk and scale monstrosity. How can can adding so many people 10 stories high be called a sustainable project? Got water? I guess so because SB saved so much when asked to conserve, now we have enough for this too ? Better yet they will class it a green leeds silver or gold project as if it is beneficial to the environment.

a-1627957602 Aug 02, 2021 07:26 PM
UCSB Continues With New Student Housing Development

It’s a problem. State laws (or rules, at least) require a certain number of spaces at the UC system, to accommodate a percentage of graduates of California high schools. They force the individual campuses to expand, take more students. So the campus expands, but in this case, doesn’t actually provide for the students they admit. Now they say they want to build this monstrosity to fulfill the need for student housing. I wouldn’t be surprised if it is a stalling technique. There are bound to be all kinds of issues and delays with a proposal like this. Eleven stories! And yes, where does the water come from? I bet they don’t even have to address that.

a-1627957205 Aug 02, 2021 07:20 PM
UCSB Continues With New Student Housing Development

Many, maybe most, of the bedrooms will not have windows. The rich man who designed it was inspired by a Disney cruise, where they (I am told) have screens mimicking portholes in the interior cabins.

SBTownie Aug 03, 2021 09:21 AM
UCSB Continues With New Student Housing Development

Pit, probably the most energy efficient thing we could do would be giant windowless dorm halls with thousands of triple height bunk beds and then one giant co-ed bathroom utilizing a constantly recycling flowing trough of water for a communal toilet. That would be really energy efficient! I like how you think! Seriously though you have to be kidding if "energy efficiency" is enough for you to advocate for removal of windows. You can google it. There are a zillion studies and papers and articles documenting the well established phenomenon that living in a room with no window is bad for one's psychological well being, circadian rhythms, and more.

PitMix Aug 03, 2021 10:29 AM
UCSB Continues With New Student Housing Development

Get used to it, SB. China just tripled their number of nuclear warhead silos. Between the Russians, us, and the Chinese, the remaining human population will all be living in caves, if climate change doesn't burn us out first.

KuroNeko Aug 02, 2021 10:38 PM
UCSB Continues With New Student Housing Development

A cleverly written article that neglected to directly mention the fact that 4,536 beds are proposed for this project. What will be the impacts from this project on the Goleta Valley? Or is it just a drop in the bucket and won't even make a difference? I guess this is what progress looks like..

PitMix Aug 03, 2021 06:53 AM
UCSB Continues With New Student Housing Development

The students are already here, this is just housing for them so they don't have to live 3 to a bedroom in IV. One apartment dweller uses way less water than an ag user or a house with landscaping. Relax.

Byzantium Aug 03, 2021 08:40 AM
UCSB Continues With New Student Housing Development

The biggest impact will be opening up more general population rentals in IV, for every student who will now be residing on campus in the new dorms. This is good news for those seeking rentals in this low vacancy-low turnover rental south coast location.

dukemunson Aug 03, 2021 07:55 AM
UCSB Continues With New Student Housing Development

This project needs to be wildly downsized, it’s way too tall. Cap it at 6-7 stories… UCSB has other spots where they can build another dorm to go along with this (now) smaller dorm.

biguglystick Aug 03, 2021 08:42 AM
UCSB Continues With New Student Housing Development

While I am usually anti-big development, this is really GOOD news. The students are already here. UCSB and SBCC students are overenrolled and there are far too many of them taking up much needed surrounding local housing. We have a crippling housing crisis in this county. It's BAAAAD out there. A giant housing complex for students right on campus will keep them there, it's convenient and good for the rest of us. Hear! Hear! Now SBCC should follow suit. Get one of the funky downtown architects like David Shelton on it to build an on-campus student housing complex that doesn't block views and creates a "village" for students that allows the rest of us locals to have some rental availability! Housing is NEEDED.

dukemunson Aug 03, 2021 09:30 AM
UCSB Continues With New Student Housing Development

No this is a ridiculous monstrosity of a building. There is no justification or logic in allowing an 11 story building here. UCSB has ample spots to build another ancillary dorm… this is needs to be stopped.

UCSB does need more housing, but that doesn’t mean a ridiculously oversized single project should be green lit. Build it for 2500 students and get another project in the pipeline for another 2000. Again… this thing is huge!! It’s a couple feet short of stork tower!

Babycakes Aug 03, 2021 09:19 AM
UCSB Continues With New Student Housing Development

Does anyone know if 1st/2nd-year students who are not living with their parents/guardians locally are required to stay in UCSB housing? I hope those folks who rent out rooms to students to make ends meet are not too badly affected. On the flip side, those landlords who rent out rooms can rent to non-students at a higher rate, which would be unfortunate.

PitMix Aug 03, 2021 10:26 AM
UCSB Continues With New Student Housing Development

"Freshman are able to live in one of eight residence halls that provide room and board for approximately 5,000 freshman. ... Through the 2&2* program, students are guaranteed housing for all 4 years of their UCSB experience, either in the residence halls or the University apartments.

Ahchooo Aug 03, 2021 11:03 AM
UCSB Continues With New Student Housing Development

It’s been more that UCSB has been proud to *offer* housing to first year students. Not required. The 2&2 program Pitmix mentioned appears to offer housing for four years, to all students “that qualify,” whatever that means. Interesting.

a-1628011213 Aug 03, 2021 10:20 AM
UCSB Continues With New Student Housing Development

Too big, too tall for its' proposed location adjacent flight path to the runway of SB airport where low flying planes crossing Storke are often at the two story level. Let's hope one foggy night some pilot coming in low doesn't create a tragedy.

Luvaduck Aug 03, 2021 10:54 AM
UCSB Continues With New Student Housing Development

UCSB housing: Club Med. What poor students need are rooms for 2, 3 or 4 equipped with beds/bunk-beds, 1 desk and a bookcase that could be be stacked w/o interfering w/w-fi, one wardrobe/closet per bed. A separate but attached facility could house a pay laundry, rental cage storage spaces for bikes or surfboards, social parlors, study halls and a cafeteria. It would be accessible with the same key card as individual rooms. Sufficient shared bathroom facilities per hall would need to be supplied in a way that kept the facilities & every student safe. Additionally, outside entry to the facility must be secure, not subject to propped open doors. All this may sound spartan, but it would keep costs way down for serious students who don't want to pay for granite countertops, shared suite facilites no one cleans and replacing misused or stolen furniture. Since beds would be the same size, uniform linen could be provided on an exchange basis weekly and cleaned institutionally. Since there would be a need for individual hall monitors to "keep the peace", this would offer an opportunity for free housing to one student (or couople). It would come with the authority to cite students incompatible with house rules (destructive, excessive loud late at night, vomit in the bathrooms, and so forth.) Too many citations would require that student to find housing compatible with their behavior. Obviously, this would not be a situation for most party-hearty students, but many students of limited means only come to study, learn a profession, graduate on time and move on.

Ahchooo Aug 03, 2021 11:12 AM
UCSB Continues With New Student Housing Development

Luvaduck, what you describe is very much what UCSB offered in their older dorms (still in use) when I went there in the seventies. We had two to a room, and some people had bunk beds, but there was space enough that they didn’t have to be stacked. Some of those rooms are now used for three students. The bathrooms are shared, down the hall. Many newer dorms have the suite set ups, with a common room shared by a few double bedrooms. But the older style are still there. The Club Med aspect was the location, and the joy of being with other students, away from parents.

letmego Aug 03, 2021 01:11 PM
UCSB Continues With New Student Housing Development

I'd be very interested to know what the single occupancy room sizes are. Back in the dark ages, when I was in college, my campus had a variety of housing options: Doubles and quads with private bathrooms, doubles on halls with shared bathrooms, 4 person efficiency apartments, 2 person efficiency apartments (14'x15' with a kitchen and bath), and singles. The singles were very tiny. They were like shotgun houses...desk across the back, bed along one side with dresser underneath. Shared bathroom. Probably only 4-5 of space outside the bed. (I worked on campus one summer painting dorms...got to see them all). Freshman year, I ended up with a coveted 3-person dorm room at the end of a hall, so we had our OWN bathroom.

I'm estimating that a single person unit was about 1/3 of the triple that I was in. If that. A new dorm was built and finished when I was a junior - only seniors got to live in it. It was sweet! But I'm sure by 5-10 years later it was already old and tired.

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