Correction: An earlier version of the story gave the wrong day for the district board’s meeting. It’s Thursday, Sept. 3.
BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer
There is a demand for nearly 1,000 student beds at each of the three community colleges in San Mateo County, according to a report that the San Mateo County Community College Board will review Thursday (Sept. 3).
District consultant Scion Advisory Services did a study of student housing demand among the college district’s students in the spring. Scion surveyed 2,551 students. The survey results helped Scion reach the conclusion that there is a demand for between 3,283 and 4,758 beds in the three-campus system, depending on how much the district charges for rent.
No examples of costs for the apartments were provided in Scion’s report.
The college district board had asked for a study that would determine how feasible it would be to have students live on campus and assess the district’s ability to build housing.
The district hired Irvine-based Scion, which specializes in campus housing analyses.
At Wednesday’s meeting, Scion and Vice Chancellor Mitch Bailey will over the study. Then district board members can ask questions and say if they’re interested in adding housing to any of the district’s campuses.
The survey found there is interest among students to live on campus, and that number of students interested in housing fluctuates depending on if the apartments or dorms will be lower-cost or if families can live on campus.
Scion also asked students to pick the campus they’d like to live at — Canada College in Redwood City, Skyline in San Bruno or College of San Mateo.
Most (74%) picked the College of San Mateo, followed by Skyline (60%) and Canada (56%). Respondents could pick more than one campus, which explains why the percentages don’t add up to 100.
The district already has 104 homes at CSM and Canada for faculty, but student housing has been an interest of the board.
Of the students polled, 92% said it’s important for the district to offer housing to retain students.
According to Scion’s report, 40% of students have considered leaving the district because of the cost of housing in the area, and 7% say that they plan on leaving the district.
The report also gives an overview look of three options the district has for paying for the housing:
• a bond measure that property taxpayers would repay described as a “self-financing” option;
• giving a private developer a long-term lease for campus land, where the developer would build the housing;
• a partnership between the college district and a developer.
The “self-financing” option would cost the least and give the district the most amount of control over the project, but it has the highest risk. Having an outside developer come in would result in the highest cost to students paying rent, the district would have less control over the project, but have less risk associated, according to Scion’s report.
A public-private partnership, in which both sides create a tax-exempt corporation to build the housing, would be the middle ground between the aspects of cost, control and risk, the report said.
The board will meet at 6 p.m. on Wednesday to discuss the report, the meeting can be accessed via Zoom at https://smccd.zoom.us/j/95302220282 or by calling 1-669-900-9128 and using webinar ID: 953 0222 0282.