Open Forum on Campus Housing – Oct. 10, 2018

Open Forum on Campus Housing – Oct. 10, 2018


– Thank everybody for coming
to this housing forum. Just by way of background,
about three years ago during one of my evaluations, annual evaluation with the Board, we talked about issues and
things that we need to discuss. And we had just passed
a bond, and we noticed that there was increasing
rents in Sonoma County. And this was back in 2015. And one of the goals that the
Board asked me to put down was to begin the process
of looking at bringing back residential dorms to
Santa Rosa Junior College. And this is something for
those so-called old-timers, or veterans, remember living in the dorms, that there used to be dorms on campus, but they were taken down
for various reasons. And at that time there
wasn’t a real great need for affordable student housing. Today there is. And you fast forward. Yesterday, of course, was the
anniversary of the firestorm, and that punctuated going from a crisis to a real emergency in urgency. So, what we’ve done is
we’ve formulated a group to look at housing that’s comprised of a working group of faculty, staff, administrators. And we’ve also made an investment in bringing in some experts, Scion, which is a nationally recognized firm. They went through a
competitive bid process and were selected. And they did a needs assessment
in the spring of last year, and they’ll share the
results with you today. So, today we want to tell
you where we’ve been at, where we think we’re going,
and most importantly, to hear from you in terms
of what do you think. So, at this point I’ll turn it over to our Vice President of Student
Services, Pedro Avila. Thank you. – So, I just want to take a minute to, well first of all welcome all of you to our housing forum. And this is an opportunity for us to collect more input from our community. But I do want to take
a minute and recognize everyone who’s been a part
of our housing workgroup. And this project started
more than a year ago. Back in August, we convened
as a workgroup of people that were interested in talking about how do we find solutions to address housing and security for students, something that is very
personal for some of us. And I think everybody on this workgroup had a lot of personal interest
in addressing that issue because of our backgrounds and things that we’ve gone through. But anyways, I just want
to recognize this group. It’s a very diverse group. Represents all of our different groups, including faculty, students, our classified staff, management. So, we first convened
in August of last year and we had really good conversations, and then the fires happened. And when we came back after the fires, we realized that we really
needed to expedite this project. And we also realized that we
couldn’t do it by ourselves. So, we decided that we
needed to hire an expert. So, like Dr. Chong said, we
did a request for proposal. We had three companies
that submitted bids, we interviewed two of them, and it was a unanimous
decision by the group to hire Scion because of their expertise in advising colleges and universities across the nation on student housing. So, we’re very excited about
this partnership with Scion. I’m gonna turn it over to
Robert, who’s been our lead. He’s been a very critical
lead working with Scion, and definitely the right
person, and has the right energy and the contact with our students. And I think our Scion
partners really enjoyed that contact with Robert. So, I’m gonna turn it over to Robert who’s going to introduce Scion. Thank you. – Thanks, Pedro. I feel like I’m preaching
to the choir here. Got all those housing advocates out there. They didn’t plant anyone
in the audience right? No, we’re good. Hey, you know, we’ve been
talking about housing, I was just talking to Cathy Matthews, probably for three or four years, when students first started to come in and the anecdotes from the community that we’re challenged. We can’t find a place to live. We can’t afford a place if we find it. Some of us are living in cars. Some of us are in transitional housing. Some of us are on the
streets, actually students, right now, who are on the streets. And so we began talking,
and that was the genesis of what became the
Student Resource Center, which DeAnna Rogers, in the
audience, is now coordinating. And there’s a connection
to the county now. We have resources that we
can give out to students. We can’t provide them housing, but we can give them resources, and she’s connected with
a database with the county so we can track students
and work with the county on providing those resources. We have the off-campus housing webpages. Actually, I was remembering
a little bit of history that this program was created when we did away with
housing in the early 2000s. The money that was used in some of their operational accounts was then used to start our
off-campus housing webpages. So, we can provide landlords a place to go and put their housing, and students a place to
go and search for housing. But when you don’t have any
housing in the community, you have very, very limited
housing in the community, that’s really hard to do. So, I think all of that’s
led to a conversation, what is our responsibility to do, as an institution who brings
students from out of the area, who has students that
can’t afford to live here, our own students within Sonoma County who can’t find a place to live? What is our responsibility? Is it to provide housing? We didn’t know the
answer to that question. We think there’s demand, but we hired Scion in
order to tell us that. And so we asked them to really
look at five things for us. Demand analysis, basically
is there enough demand for it to make sense to
an investor or developer? And that means students and employees, we asked them to look at both and do a research-based
survey and focus groups so that we could have some
real numbers, real data. What were the best locations to build? Look at all sites. Look at all the locations
on all of our sites. Tell us what they thought would be best. What room types, singles,
doubles, apartments. What room types would students
like and staff like the best? What rental rates? Could we get below market
and still make the deal work? And then what funding models? We essentially boiled in down to P3, which is a public-private partnership. You can fund it with general
fund, not gonna happen, a bond, not gonna happen, or
you can use what’s called a P3. And so, that’s what they’re
gonna talk about today at the end of their presentation. But I want to turn it over now to Scion because they’re the experts, and they’re gonna tell
you what they found out. Ann Volz, Chelsea Metivier, come on up. (audience applauds) – (laughs) Oh, you guys
are, you are too kind. Make me blush, and that
doesn’t happen that often. Thank you. So, really as you’ve heard, and some of you have met us before, and we’re real pleased by
the engagement we’ve had, is Scion was formed, just
a little bit about us, we were formed in 1999. And we have never once lost
our focus on campus housing. This is what our firm does. We though are not a developer. We are not looking to be
a management company here We are not an architect
or a construction company. We come long before those entities. And it is our mandate, and it’s the reason that
we’ve been successful and we’ve been able to work with 200 campus communities plus, including of course right here, to give very third-party, objective advice on, just as Robert said,
do you have the demand? And oftentimes, not oftentimes, but there are times
when our clients do not. And we’ve advised to
either proceed with housing or not to proceed with housing. It is not in our interests to be advocates that you build student housing. So, that is really the process
that we’ve gone through. Chelsea’s gonna get in more
with it, but everything was done with that very third-party objective lens. It’s not done with building concepts, architectural drawings. It’s very much what does that qualitative and quantitative research
say about your campuses? So, that’s about us, and it
really doesn’t matter about us. It matters about here. So, to just talk a little bit here, as we always start off honestly, and even before in our
initial very conversations that were, gosh, I think over a year at this point with all of you is what is Santa Rosa Junior College? What type of institution? What are those students? And then really looking at what’s the right scope of services that we provide for all of you? While we have our
templates, our processes, our proven expertise that’s
worked in the market, it is still a tailored process
to each individual client. And that also talks about what does that student
population look like, and I’m not going to get into this slide with the findings and the recommendations, but we learned a lot even in that initial
research that we undertook. And then we really need to look too is what’s the current state? And as all of you said and
we learned even more today that there were even tents out
on your lawns three years ago talking about housing and
homelessness in the area, and how can the college
serve their purpose to help the students, the faculty, the single-family students,
the students with families, all the cohorts, the faculty, the staff to really provide a quality, affordable residential experience? What’s driving that right now? Why are we here on your campus? And of course, the horrible
fire that took place a year and a day ago is obviously, too, put the sense of urgency. A quote we always heard is
you went from a shortage to a crisis literally overnight with I think, what,
5,300 homes being lost. I’m just so sorry to all
of you still for that. And then that student readiness. Is this the type of student
that would be willing to and want to live on campus? Do you have a faculty
and staff that’s ready? Is your campus? Is your board? Is there buy-in? Do we all believe that this is right for the Santa Rosa Junior College student, faculty, and staff? Now, we get a little bit
more into the minutia, but also too is the first
thing we need to understand once we get to be engaged with all of you is what are those key strategic objectives that you’re looking for with your housing? What are those main drivers? And you don’t get 25. We have to make sure because
we have to prioritize, too, so our recommendations
can tie back directly to the strategic objectives of
the college and the district. And what we kept hearing, and we even heard it as
recently as yesterday, is it needs to be affordable. It needs to be attainable that
our students can live here, that can afford to live here,
that they want to live here, that your faculty and your staff. But it’s not just affordable. It’s a quality residential
experience, too. So, it needs to promote and provide that program of activities, that academic outcomes that we achieve, and of course, support your mission. Every single one of these objectives has to advance and support the mission. That’s just an underlying
tone to everything. And you also, too, it’s
not just about the housing, but how does it tie in to
the non-residential uses? It has to work holistically
with your campus, and it even has to serve
the non-resident population to create a hub for the students. Maybe with your new STEM building there creates a real sense
of student-centeredness, student activities, student
learning that takes place, as we all know, inside
and outside the classroom. So, I’m gonna let Chelsea
talk about our process. – So, as Ann mentioned,
our process really looks at both quantitative and qualitative data. So, we came to campus in April, and we spent three days on campus really hearing from students,
staff, faculty, stakeholders, and then disseminated a survey. And we had incredible
result from the survey. 1,735 responses, which for
a team that does surveys quite frequently and works
on campuses of all sizes, of all types across the
country and throughout Canada, that is an outstanding
and astounding result, and as quickly as we got it. Which really gave us a sense
that we’re hearing a need, that we’re seeing a need, and
that folks had an opinion. And that’s great. That’s what we wanted to hear. So, as we talked again, a
variety of different things that we looked at both from
the qualitative perspective hearing and then quantitative, doing our own analysis outside of what your off-campus market looks like, really trying to understand the problem from multiple fronts and perspectives. Our focus groups. We heard over and over
again affordability. Affordability on all fronts, and affordability for a variety of type of student and student experiences. So, recognizing that the
students who are most impacted in the families, faculty, staff. Students with families
that are also most impacted are frequently the ones that are the most
underserved in the community and that ripple effect
of the housing crisis, the fires, et cetera. Making sure that affordability
is number one for students, we heard that over and over again. Heard limited supply, heard the increasing rents
because of the limited supply, and we also heard from students who said that they
themselves and/or their peers had either considered leaving
the JC at the end of that term or were already planning to leave the JC because of insecurity,
because of instability and needing the to find that. So, really just thinking about that and taking that into consideration. Again, the survey results
really echoed the same thing. Cost, affordability, number one issue that we heard over and over again, and then, again,
reiterating the instability that students were already
facing, that faculty, staff, as well as students with families are already facing in the area. Our market in demand. So, we put all of that together and really analyzed the data, analyzed what we heard from all of you, analyzed the off-campus market, and determined that there’s a demand for maybe 300 to 500 student beds. And so, we narrowed that
down a little bit more and came up with median demand about 350. We understood that 86% of
the full-time single students would be interested in on-campus housing. So, again that really spoke
to the survey results, what we heard, as well
as unit types, et cetera that we had also tested. Really a reiteration, over and over again, we were hearing the same narrative, which told us that that really is kind of exactly what’s happening. That reaffirmation is so
important in our work. Our demand findings. Again, a median demand of about 350 beds, that that would potentially
attract a developer so that it would limit any
burden on the campus financially. About 130 beds for faculty, staff, and family students, as
well, so thinking about that, demonstrating that looking
at two different sites of two different campuses, demonstrating that the Santa Rosa campus would be the most financially
viable for that demand, and that students with
families, faculty, and staff also all indicated an interest in that of course being seen in
the demand that we have. – Sure, sure. – Yeah. – So, as part of our process, of course, we take all the information we found that Chelsea just shared
with you, all those results. And of course, they need to lie into a clearly implementable
recommendation plan for you. And that includes, too, ’cause we heard in the strategic objective and as Chelsea reminded, too, that there shouldn’t
be any financial burden upon the students, the
community, the college, any risk to the college, too. So, we test all that from a
financial perspective, as well. So, taking all those numbers, looking at all those
objectives of the school, and determining what are the right
recommendations for Santa Rosa. And while it’s a recommendation, it’s not that you must do this. To keep rents the lowest for everyone, for your students, for your
faculty, for your staff, if you do do two developments
at the same time, because of the economies of scale and because of the increased revenue, that will keep your rents
the lowest and create the most affordable quality
residential experience. But they aren’t codependent financially. One does not fund the other, so they can be built separately. You will just get a lower rent
and a better quality project if you build them together. Then, we really looked, and it’s mentioned to you by
Robert and by Chelsea too, is taking that financial risk off everyone I see today in the college is what’s very common in our industry is the public-private
partnership delivery. And to not get into the weeds of that, but happy to answer any
questions about it if you’d like. That transfers the risk
away from the school onto a developer and onto ultimately what’s a not-for-profit owner. So, the developer bears all that development construction risk. The owner bears all the long-term
operational risks of it. So, I think it’d be best, we also looked at a couple locations, and I think Lee is best
to address the locations. – So, thank you for that Ann. There’s a couple sites
that we’ve looked at, and these are actually
properties that we already own. These were actually contemplated during the facilities
master planning process of a few years ago because there were members
of the 2030 Committee who had the foresight to encourage us to develop a few sites or at
least identify a few sites. So, the first one is on Mendocino to my far left over there,
the first green box. And it’s behind Joe’s Coffee. If you’re familiar with the
parking lot, it’s a flag lot. There’s a driveway off of Mendocino and also off the side street. And it is directly behind Joe’s Coffee. That’s actually a
college-owned parking lot. And it has on two sides
of it single-family homes and on two sides of it more
of a commercial development. So, it tells us that, because it’s in a
residential neighborhood, it won’t be as tall,
particularly on the two sides that face the single-family
home sides, but on two sides it would allow us to do
a taller development. The second site actually
has even more capacity. Oh, and by the way, that lot over there is about 1 3/4 acres, so
it’s a pretty good size. The second lot is to
my immediate left here, which is at the northwest
corner of the campus. It’s at the corner of Elliott and Armory, and it’s a combination of the existing Beck Annex parking lot and the adjacent area next to it, which includes the Button HR Building, and the Foundation, and the
English Language School. So, if you combine all of those
areas into one large parcel, it’s about two acres and change. And because of it’s location, we think we can go a little
bit taller in that location. One of the other comments
I want to make in general is that we are a state agency, so we’re not specifically beholden to the city height limits and rules, although we do like to work with the city. We keep them informed so that we’re kind of always
on the same page with them. But the reason I’m saying that is that it does allow us
to go a little bit taller than perhaps what a
typical city development would allow us to do. And that’s a good thing,
because it, again, allows us the develop more units and do a little bit more complex or have a little bit more space to build what we need to build. – Just a point that I should
have actually stated earlier, and it’s relevant to this slide as well, is we were on your
Petaluma campus yesterday. Obviously we’re here today, and during the process
that Chelsea mentioned, we spent about the same
equal amount of time, too, looking at each campus. And demand findings really said that the best two locations right now are those for which Lee just showed us. So, we got a little
bit more granular, too, because in our work, and really looked at what does that housing look like? What are those unit types? What are those preferences for your students, faculty, and staff? And overwhelmingly, actually, because the students right now, you can certainly sense the crisis, said we really need shelter. And demand came back,
which is not typical, but overwhelmingly for a very traditional, we don’t use the word too
often in our industry, but I will say a
traditional dorm-style unit. So, and then we also looked
at the traditional doubles. In the industry, for those
of you who are in it, we call this a semi-suite. It starts to just get a little
bit more of independence as the student progresses or
as the developers require. And then, obviously too, we
look at the apartment-style unit that has the kitchen facilities. And then, we have to balance
all these unit types, too, with what your private developers will be, what will attract them. And typically for
first-year or first-time, well maybe second-time here, but first-time for at least right now, housing on campus at a two-year school, your private development partners and the investors most importantly need to understand that if
the school for some reason would ever go away or
something would be a change, it’s what they call the exit strategy and how would they convert easily to maybe a market-rate use. Not that that’s ever the intention of it, but therefore our recommendation, and we would want to let
the developers tell us what type of units are best, but most likely it’s
going to really attract more of an apartment-style unit, which was also seen as favorable. And we need to keep in mind,
too, that while unfortunately we are in a crisis situation here today, this is a 40-year most likely partnership, so we have to look long-term, as well. And different unit types, too, we didn’t just test
them with the students. We, of course, tested them too
with your faculty and staff, and that came back, and also your students
with dependents as well, and that came back definitely as an apartment-style unit type
that they preferred to have, which is, no two campuses are alike, but that’s very typical that we see. And then, as we talked about and we were so eloquently
reminded yesterday, affordability is key. That is essential. We can build anything we want, and if we’re not serving
our student population, serving those strategic
objectives that we have, while of course, there’s a
required financial return, how do we keep those rents affordable? How do they stay under that market rate? And the rates that we have here were tested by your students
and by your faculty and staff, and they are less than market rate. And please bear in mind, too, the rates that you see here
for the student housing include furniture and all utilities. And for the faculty, staff housing, they include all the utilities. So, it’s a one rent payment, which also that’s very attractive to your student population, as well. Also too is with student housing is oftentimes students don’t have credit. They don’t, they may not even
have a cosigner for them. And student housing through
that public-private partnership allows those students, it’s an agreement that all takes place, but they don’t look for the
typical credit requirements that someone that’s just a
private developer would look for. And just to really somewhat wrap up our presentation right
here ’cause we really want to have dialog with all of you, of course, but this here is really proven research in the student housing industry. This is not Scion. This is not Ann and Chelsea’s opinion. But student housing has been proven to really advance academic
learning and academic outcomes and is directly linked to GPAs. So, it’s that student
engagement that takes place. So, we’re not here, again,
to promote student housing. Just wanted to share some
research that we’ve come across throughout our years in the industry. And again, not Scion’s research, but that more of the research
that we see in our industry. And I’ve been in it for 18 years, and it tends to stay like this. But it really does. It also increases mentorship, diversity. If students are going
off-campus to find housing, they typically will be with students that are in their area of
study or that are like-minded. And when you have a student, you really get that
interaction of learning, that diversity of learning, which all leads to, again,
those better academic outcomes that most importantly
support your mission. And I guess I should say the typical ones of lower cost and convenience. If you can walk to school,
you might not require a car. You might not require a bus or train pass. So there’s so many conveniences to being that right across
the street or right on, well both sites are on-campus technically. And I think we can explore this if you have any other further questions. Certain schools, if we didn’t hear that risk to the school
financially is okay, then there would be more options on here. But what we heard from day one was that we don’t want to
bear this financial risk. We don’t want to. We want to make sure our
taxpayers or the state, they’re all protected. So, there is really
the most obvious choice is to go through a
public-private partnership. And next up, this is
really all for all of you. What’s that aspirational state? What are all of you doing? These are our recommendations we’ve shared with an implementation plan. Is it campus housing by 2021? Is that what we have here? So, these are really not
our questions to answer, but those obviously for all of you. And with that, I think
we get into some dialog. (audience applauds) Thank you. – We wanted to kick off by, I don’t know if you’ll need this, letting Cathy and Robert speak. They’re a part of the committee. And Eric, are there any
of the faculty here? There are? Sarah, Eric, if you want to speak to kind of give a faculty perspective. And so, classified perspective,
student perspective, and faculty perspective
in no particular order. And then we’ll go back to the community. – So, in 2016, a student
came to me and said, “Did you hear about this
report that we did in 2013 “of how many students were homeless?” And I was shocked. And that’s when we did the action, and we put tents out there in the quad and brought the attention to everybody, and that has now started the
dialog that we’re in right now. And then, unfortunately,
the fires took place and made things even more critical. I was brought in because they
said we need some support, but as I was brought in for
student housing support, realized that there’s also
a lot of people as myself. About that time I also lost my house. My landlord sold the house,
and rent was astronomical. So, I’m along with those students. At that time when the students brought that forward to me to
help and be their advocate, there was 900 established
that were housing insecure. So, and I’m sure that’s even more now. DeAnna will attest to this that the number has grown substantially. So, I’m very excited
this is going forward, that people are listening. And we really want to be more advocates to make sure this is complete. I think this will be key
for both our students, faculty, and staff to have
some housing available for them so that we can just be here and be housing secure,
not housing insecure. I think a lot of people in Sonoma County are housing insecure. I was gonna say one more
thing, but I lost it already, so I’ll turn it over to Robert. – Thank you. Hello, everyone. I’m the student trustee. I am the student representative on the student housing workgroup. Task force? Workgroup? Workgroup, awesome. Okay, so I’m on so many
task force and workgroups I can’t keep them all straight. So, I am the student trustee, and it was my job to kind
of see what’s going on, see how we could help students. But actually, I started
looking at this issue about two years ago ’cause
I also saw the study, and a friend of mine, the former student trustee, Scott Rossi, some of you may know, also
brought this to my attention. And so, I actually, the
first meeting I ever had with Dr. Chong and Lee Soto
was about two years ago, and we talked about student housing. And I actually really
want to thank both of you for actually keeping this in the forefront and really keeping this on
your mind for a long time. I mean, out of everything that’s going on, Dr. Chong and Lee have
still really been on it and everyone else, and Robert,
and I really appreciate that. And so, it’s really
cool to see that meeting where like, okay, well
we’re thinking about it. Okay, we know what students need. And then, now we’re here. And so, I’m really happy to be here. And so, the student perspective, is well, there’s a lot of
students, like Cathy said, that are housing insecure. And just to define terms,
housing insecure generally means, so for example, I wouldn’t
consider myself housing insecure. I’m at home, live with my parents. I’m not gonna get kicked out,
I’d like to think. (laughs) Yeah, exactly. So, I’m pretty secure. I’m not worried. I’m not couch surfing, so
going from friends houses, living in my car. Those things, living in the
creek, which yeah, students do. I actually used to be a county employee. I used to work in the creeks, and I’d see a lot of
people, students including, who would live in our creeks. And right now is a very
dangerous time to do that as there is raining. And so, this isn’t just
a, oh, I wanna be nice. This is a safety thing. There are people who are
very unsafe right now and living in an unsafe environment. And so, that’s something
that we need to think about. Our students are living
in that environment. And we talked with the budget
going on and everything. We talk about enrollment. We talk about retention. Well, the one of the best
ways to retain students is make sure they’re safe. Make sure that they have
a roof over their head, and this is the one of ways to do that. And so, I’m really happy
that we’re looking at that. And this is really what students need. This is one of the things that students have been looking for, and I’m really happy that the district is responding to that. We really wanna see that. And I cannot stress cheap,
cheap, cheap, cheap. We’re looking for–
– Inexpensive. – Inexpensive, thank you. Inexpensive, yes. – Below market value. – I’m a cheap guy, sorry. So, inexpensive as possible, as affordable as possible for students, and that’s really the
most important thing. Because when I brought this to
students even two years ago, it was, oh, are they just gonna
build it for the rich kids? And we have to say no. We have to say that it is going to, because this can majorly affect our most vulnerable students. We have many students who need this, and any group, it doesn’t matter what, if you’re a person of color,
LGBTQ, white, low income, every group, we have someone
who’s housing insecure. And so, we really need
to keep that in mind. – Thank you Robert. – Hi, I’m Eric Thompson. I’m faculty, and President
of the Academic Senate. I want to say two things
to start off with. I know that people will come in and out and are checking us out,
but this is lopsided. We’d just like to invite those of you who are clustered at the door
to come further into the room. It’s okay if you wanna leave, if you need to leave early or whatever. But, there’s nobody over here. Lee’s sitting in the dark by himself. (audience laughs) I’ll just share, I’ll share this thought, from a faculty point of
view, a couple of things. I also really, really wish that there were more faculty here. I have spent some time on
email exchanges with faculty dispelling and disabusing
misconceptions about this project. There are faculty out there who think, who are skeptical of
this because they think that this is a money-making
scheme for the college, that we’re building housing
for our international students, and we’re gonna make a
bunch of money from them. That’s one misconception. And there are a number of others, right? So, I wish that, I encouraged
faculty to come to this, and I’m sorry that there aren’t more. And fortunately, that’s not
because they’re not interested necessarily, but our
schedules are really tough. About the housing, I just
echo everything Robert said. I’ve been teaching here for 28 years, some of that time as an adjunct, most of it as a full-time instructor, and I’ve had homeless
students in my classes. And as I work with students day by day, it’s obvious that with all
of our state initiatives and all of our finagling
and legislative initiatives to try to reform education, to get students through better and faster, to get them to go full-time
instead of part-time, with all of those efforts, I think that we all know that
in this county, at least, the main reason that student
success is slowed down is the cost of housing, number one. I don’t think there’s
any question about that. I had a student who couldn’t
hand in his homework one day because he was living in a shelter, and someone stole his textbook, right? Another day, he was sleeping in the park. So, this is urgent, and I’m all for it. And I think that the
sentiment of the faculty, if they understand it correctly,
is that we’re all for it. I have strong ambivalence, however, about the faculty and
staff housing part of it. I’m all in favor of student housing, as inexpensive as possible. I have colleagues who
make less money than I do because they’re adjuncts, and housing is an issue for them, too. And I would like us to
study more about that, but I have a strong
ambivalence about building on or adjacent to campus
housing for employees. And speaking as a faculty member, I assume that other classes
of employees might be similar, there are several reasons why I wouldn’t want to live on
campus or this close to campus. I mean, there’s some
good professional reasons for having some separation. And so, I would, my gut
instinct, my intuition is that I think it would be a better idea if we built two student housing complexes. Maybe one for families
and another for singles or something like that. But, I know that there are
other faculty and staff who feel differently,
might feel differently. I think that we perhaps
need to study that more. But that’s my gut reaction to it. Sarah, do you want to
come and say something? Another faculty member who’s here. – Sarah. – And Sarah might disagree
with me, and that’s fine. I can handle it. – Give me that mic. I’m an adjunct here, and
so my perspective on that, I share some of Eric’s concerns about things I’m worried about. One of them is being available because I’m somebody who’s
available all the time anyway. And I know how taxing that
is for me now emotionally and how much more so that might be if my students could just walk to me like they do now, chase me to my car. But, I also am at a point, and I think a lot of the faculty and staff who aren’t full-time or even some who are are at the point where
we’re just desperate. Like, build me a mud hut,
and I’ll freaking live in it. (laughs) Okay? Like, just Sonoma County
has become a place where people are desperate. But I also recognize that
that’s a breeding ground for potentially bad behavior
or negative impacts. So, I think Eric’s right to suggest that we should proceed
cautiously and slowly, and we just need more input than Cathy and I saying we’re broke. Give us some place to live, right? I’m also concerned, and I share my colleague
Karen Frindell’s concerns about the safety issues. In particular, with the lot behind Joe’s, I really think that if
we’re dedicated to this, and we want this to be good, and we decide this is something
we want to proceed with as far as faculty and staff, if that is the location, then
we need community involvement. One of the things we need to
do is host a session like this where we invite community
members in to talk about ways that we can make that part
of the neighborhood safer. Speaking as somebody who is concerned, as I know a lot of people are right now, about sexual assault and things like this, I don’t want to place
my colleagues at risk. I don’t want to be at risk. Having to make some kind
of bargain or choice between my safety and living
in a box, those two things, I don’t want to have to
sacrifice one for the other. And so, while I think that
I am a little more gung-ho on this than perhaps
some of my colleagues, I also think that we
need to be very cautious about how we do this. I don’t want it to be a thing
where we just jump forward assuming that all the details will work themselves out later. So, Stan, you work with
our veteran students. Not anymore, but you did. You want to comment on this? Stan is one of my longtime students, and he’s extremely wise. So much so that he gives
me life advice, so. – Hello, I’m Stan. I am a USTMC at the HOPE Center. I used to work at the veteran’s office. When I started here in
2014, I was homeless, or insecure, housing insecure. My son and I were staying in my suburban with some help from the VA. But I’m blessed. I have that option. Not all of our students
don’t have that option. So, I just want to say I’m glad this discussion is happening. We need to move quicker than not and get this problem taken care of. – Thanks, Stan and Sarah
and Eric and Robert. So, I want to take advantage
of our consultants. They’re here. They’ve done the demand analysis, and they’re gonna leave after this. So, this is your chance
while they’re in the room to ask them questions
or any other questions. And I’ll just hand the mic over. – I’m Scott Conrad. I’m a parent of two former graduates here as well as an administrator
at the college. And I did a little bit of research just to get your question. Certainly agree there’s
a huge housing challenge here in Sonoma County, as well as most colleges
here along the coast with the cost of living. But we have 26,000 students,
propose to help 300. That doesn’t sound very equitable. That’s question one. Second is the research shows
– Yeah, good question. – I did a little bit of homework. There’ve been a couple of different doctoral research studies
done on student success. Most recent, the Brooking Institute study that came out earlier this week that shows housing isn’t
one of the top five for student success. We’re a community college,
not a four-year college. Most of the research on housing’s been around four-year colleges. There are a couple studies, though, that have been done on two-year. It shows that the first-year retention does not improve with housing. Actually, it’s worse. Completion does improve,
but at a very high cost. Average cost per bed is $9,000 per year, which is pretty consistent with
what you alluded to earlier, but that’s just for the
bed, and the building, and the depreciation, and the heat. The other costs, transportation,
police, food service. We have a problem with budget
already at the college. Over-investing for a small number of folks when instead using that money to help expand the assistance we give now to help people find housing perhaps would be a more
equitable and greater benefit. – I’ll take that one. – Yep, absolutely. – Scott, thank you for your question. I think we have to make sure we understand the model that they’re proposing. The public-private partnership would not incur any cost to us. And it’s gonna be a long process, but it’s how we package all
these costs with the developer. So, we don’t incur those costs. So, we’re not taking our current funds and dedicating them to 300 beds. I just want to be clear with that, okay. I’m not sure about your research. I’m sure there’s a lot of research. When you do a literature review, you find all kinds of research. But they’re the experts, so
I’m relying on their expertise on what they’re saying about retention, and persistence, and all that. 300 beds, right, it
doesn’t seem like a lot. But that’s 300 people that
we take out of the market that are not gonna be competing with other people that are in need. So, it doesn’t seem like a lot, but I think it’s gonna have
an impact in our community. So, I just want to say that, but please do understand that the model that we’re looking at is not taking our money, our funding, and giving it to 300 students. It’s creating a model
that’s gonna be self-funded, and it’s gonna take care of itself, including additional services
and costs and all that, packaging those costs. – The other question is this. If you go to the Chancellor’s site, there’s currently, I believe,
15 colleges in California, community colleges reported
by the Chancellor’s office that have dorms currently. Only one of them is not a rural college, and most when you look at the research, 25% of community colleges
in the country have dorms. Most of those, 90% plus, are rural. So, the model, at least
these are publicly funded. They’re not the model of
funding that you’re discussing. Quite curious how many have the
model that you’re discussing and how successful have they been or not? – So, I can tell you of two, right? Lisa, Robert, I think and I were, last week we happened to
be in Southern California, so we visited Orange Coast College. They just broke ground on 800 beds using this model that we’re looking at. And it was really impressive
to hear what they’re doing. They’re covering all their costs. They’re able to extend the library hours, additional police officers,
food services, everything, and be able to offer housing at 5% market rate in Orange County, which is really impressive. So, I think if we do this right, if we find the right
partner, we can achieve that. The other college that I know that’s moving into this model is Coalinga. They’re moving from a dorm, a
traditional dorm that they own into a public partnership. So, this is a trend. Everybody’s moving away, nobody’s looking at doing
traditional dorms anymore because they’re very difficult to sustain. And we’re not, that’s not our business. We’re not in the business
of running housing. There are experts out there. There’s developers that we can use. So, I know of two here in California that are moving to that model. And there’s a lot of universities that are already using that
model here in California. – Thank you. – (speaking indistinctly) Just down the street, the
San Mateo Community College actually has built faculty housing at all three of their campuses
utilizing this same model. The first time they did
it was about 12 years ago. So, I just want to emphasize
that while it’s new to us, it’s actually been something that’s been tested in the marketplace. So, we’re not the bleeding edge. We are gonna be the leading edge, though. – Thanks. – And I will say that
what was impressive to me about Orange Coast was that
their VP of Admin and Finance, their Kate Jolley, is totally onboard, and he is leading the charge. And that means no incurred
costs to the general fund. He’s very clear about that, and he’s been with this
project for what, two years. – Longer. – Or three years now? Longer? – Well, yeah, and the school looked at it like all of you for at least 10. Oh, sorry, microphone. Yes, so Orange Coast College
and their VP of Finance, he’s been engaged in the project really, like all of you, for almost 10 years, too. And they broke ground last Thursday. – Bob, you had a question. – Yes, I’m not sure who this
question is pointed towards, but so, at the end of the
30 or 40-year contract, whatever the district decides, when that is done with
does the school incur costs after that of maintaining and everything? Or is that, would the
district then lease it out? How’s that work? I’m not super clear on that. – So, at the end of 30 to 40 years, which essentially, that’s why
I can’t give a defined number, we don’t have a developer on board yet. But it really is typically
about takes that long to repay the debt that’s
out on the property. So, whether it’s 32, 38, and there are covenants in the agreements that say that whoever is
operating that building needs to keep it maintained. So, your capital improvement
dollars, whatnot, are all invested as needed, 10 year, 12 year, whatever that requires. So, once that debt is repaid, then the property does become that of the college and the district, and that would be up to
the college and district to determine what they want
to do with it at that time. – Go ahead. – (speaking indistinctly) I think. – Absolutely. – So, that would mean that
the profits and the costs of that would be incurred on the district unless the district decides to lease it out again or whatever. Is that what you’re saying? – That’s exactly, that’s right. It’s really, at that point,
it’s up to all of you if you want to take it on yourselves or like you say, too,
you could lease it out to another private management company. But yes, it’s definitely at that point, it’s turned back to the college. – Unless we decide otherwise. – That’s right. – Okay, awesome, thank you. – (speaking indistinctly) – Yeah, I guess my question I had was, and if there was some research done, this campus previously had Kent Hall, which was the original dorms, I think. Some folks here who’ve been
longer could attest to that. But I was curious if
there was research done in essentially why that model
failed and we knocked it down in relation to now using it as an example of what not to do in the future. And then my second question
was just quality control. So, the developer comes in and builds, but to what standards do they build to? Do they build to the college’s standard? Do they build to the city’s
standards, et cetera? One should take the Type V
versus institution, yeah. – Sure, and then you can take Kent Hall. So, absolutely. So, we really, when we did
our financial analysis, too, we do look to quality of
construction, as well. And you do really have remarkable architecture on the campus. So, that’s what we call
institutional quality. Then there’s also what’s
called really a Type V, which is a very nice
quality apartment building. Probably most of what we see in America is mostly Type V. That is can be a very high quality, and the agreements that we have with the development partner, that all of you will have
with the development partner, will define, too, within financial reason, what type of quality can be achieved. Our findings certainly say that it’s a Type V type of construction that you would want to have on the campus. But that is certainly all in the agreement because let’s say we want
to build the quality level that you have on the campus. That burdens the student rents. So, it’s very much that balance that we have make sure that
we keep that affordability up there as a very strategic driver. – I was here when we had Kent Hall, and I’ll just say what I know, anything else would be conjecture, is that the model was not a
model that you typically see used in institutional housing where you have a live-in manager. We did not have a live-in manager, and I think that’s part of the problem. You really need to have a
live-in resident director and RAs, or resident assistants, that they supervise for each floor, each grouping of 50, 60 students. There are different ratios. We didn’t have that model, and I think that was part of the problem. There’s a lot of other reasons, I’m sure. I won’t even get into those, but we definitely have to have the model where we have a live-in resident director. And I think you would
concur with that model. So, let’s go to Sarah. – So, I had two questions. The first is just what if anything, and I don’t know if this is
specifically directed at you, but just in terms of how we’re gonna approach this conversation
with the larger community. How are we gonna introduce this idea? And what kinds of partnerships
do we need to have in place? Because part of the rebuild effort here, and I mentioned this in
the meeting that we had, is focused on sustainable housing and making sure that
we’re not doing things that negatively impact our environment here in Sonoma County. – Yeah, Sarah, to answer your question, we’ve been in touch and in conversation with the cities of Santa Rosa, and with the county of Santa Rosa, and with supervisors both on the county and city council folks to
let them know our intention. And they’ve all been very favorable to supporting our efforts. And we’re gonna form a
external advisory group of those folks because when
you deal with the lines, and the city, and electrical, that’s gonna cross over, so
we want to get ahead of that. So, you’re absolutely right. We’re gonna talk to other folks. We also talked to Burbank Housing. That’s the largest affordable
non-profit housing group here, and that was something
that you had suggested. And I followed up with Larry Florin, and we met with him, as well. And he’s gonna be able
to help us out, as well. – Yeah, I’m also concerned,
just as a side note, about if we’re talking
to people like that, I think that’s wonderful. I think the other thing
we need to consider is talking to the neighbors and making sure that we’re not like, ’cause I can imagine
how somebody might feel if suddenly there was this thing there that wasn’t there before, right? – Yeah, absolutely. – And typically, before
you do a project like that, you have a town hall
meeting with that community, and you get their input, and you give them a chance.
– That’s what I’d like to see. – But we’re not, I mean, this is, we’re at the point right now where we’re really collecting input from our internal community
to decide where to go. And I think we need to go back and gather more input from
faculty about that site. We’re hearing that loud and clear. Once we know if we’re gonna
move forward with that site, then we would go to the next phase, which would be gathering community input. But we’re not there yet, but I do appreciate the comment though. – I just want to keep it in our minds. – Yeah, it’s important. – The other question that I had was about the satisfaction level. You mentioned that San Mateo had been kind of in this
process for about 12 years, I think you said. – Well, the project I was referring to was Orange Coast College, but Lee was referring to San Mateo. – And you’d mentioned
that they had developed the faculty housing. Do we have satisfaction surveys from students and from faculty and staff about how they feel
about that housing now? Because I would be interested to see what the people who live in the housing have to say about it. – Yeah, I’m not aware of that, but I can certainly reach out
to my counterpart down there and just see what they have, if anything. I’m told that the College of San Mateo was their first project, and it was deemed to be successful enough where they chose to add one
at Canada and one at Skyline, or at least looked at proposals for those. So, I’m assuming that
it was successful enough where they would want to
continue to roll that out. But I’ll follow up. – It’d be nice to be able to know what people think of their housing. – Yeah, and you asked another question I just want to touch on earlier. You said what about sustainability? And I did want to mention from
a construction perspective, we can sort of work with the
team as we develop the RFP to kind of set the standards that we think are
appropriate for our college. So, that comes down to everything from construction standards
and sustainability standards to whatever else we think is important in terms of our values. So, I think that, it’s a
little early right now, but those are some of the things that the housing workgroup
will probably work with us on assuming we want to go forward and how we want to go forward. Those questions will be asked, so thanks. – Yeah, thank you. I kind of wanted to build a little bit on what David was saying, and Lee you partially
answered my question just now. But I think there’s unanimity that everyone wants this to be affordable, but that we don’t want it to be cheap. So, how do we ensure the
quality through this process? I think we can rest assured
that buildings will get built to meet current codes and all of that, but I think to serve the
needs of this college and this community, it’s gotta be more than just typical Type V apartment building. I think there’s spaces and amenities that have to be part of it
for it to be successful. And what level of control
does the college have? Is it just at the RFP level, and then once a developer’s selected, they kind of run with it? Or how does the college
stay involved and make sure that you’re getting the product that you want through this process? – Very good questions and
very good concerns and that, which all the colleges do have. So, it’s called a
public-private partnership. And please, bear in mind, that
last word’s really important because all of you are in it together. And that partnership comes
together in its extents. You don’t select a
developer and say, great. Literally take Orange Coast College that just broke ground last Thursday. My colleagues and myself were on, gosh, hour to two-hour
long calls every week working through the minutia of every detail you’re talking about. And that balance of the
quality and the affordability is really, really key in
making those decisions down to every last how many
outlets go in the rooms. I mean, that’s the level of detail you’re working with that partner on. And then, there’s a partnership
agreement that’s formed that has just as much
college input, probably more, than the private developer. Of course, it has to be
within financial reason because the lenders are
a part of that financial, that partnership, too. So, I’m not sure if that
answers your question. Lee might be able to
expand upon it further. – Somewhat, I guess. One additional follow-up to that is is there room within this financial model for great amenities? Free to say, student lounges, student gathering spaces,
– Oh, yes. – cafes, et cetera. – Yes, when you started to
say expensive amenities, I started to picture swimming
pools and climbing walls, so I got a little nervous. – They have a nice pool already. – But, yes. Actually the financials that we ran had in the study lounges, those social spaces that are so important to
the student experience. – Good. – Yeah. – (speaking indistinctly) – So, when we got the survey results, I brought it back to my group, which is the student
athletes and the coaches. And they asked some questions
about the $700 a month rent. So, I wanted to ask you, how firm could you project that out being? Because when I talked to them, they thought that was a little bit high for what they could do as the coaches and some of the student athletes. So, what I would caution is if it got down the road a year or two and all of a sudden that 700
grew to 900 or something, you’re gonna basically, none of our 250 out-of-town
student athletes are gonna stay in a place like that. – Yeah, that’s, so all
good questions all of you. So, those rents are current 2018, and in our pro formas,
too, we do cost-of-living, which I think we run at
4% in the pro formas. So, we get that question
fairly frequently, too, and it does need to be bear in mind that it includes it’s all utilities. It’s all furniture. It is on your college campus. And when we do our market analysis, too, we look at all those factors. So, we look at where the
students are living now. We have to take it as a per bed
count, not a per unit count. And then we have to
ensure, too, that there’s, if it’s not going to be
less than market rate, it’s serving some of the purpose but not all of the objectives, as well. And the rent tolerances that
we found from the students was that $700 with all
those factors included works for your pro forma that is also tolerable by the students. Of course, if you’re hearing
differently, we’d want to know, but all of our research came back that that was a tolerable rent payment. Hi. – Thanks for having me here. Is it on? Better. – Are we there. Robert Brownlee with the
District Police Department. I believe we had a discussion at one point when you were out here. So, my question is regarding security, and maybe it’s a policy piece and you can give a
little bit of an overview of how behavioral issues are handled and public safety matters are addressed. – So, I’m not, they’re
absolutely all addressed. I’m gonna ask for a little help,
too, from Robert and Pedro, but those agreements, so we were talking a little bit earlier about the financing agreement, and construction quality
and affordability, and how those pieces are together. Just as extensive of
conversations take place is that operator agreement
and who is going to do what. And there’s literally would be a matrix that talks about your
operator’s responsible for this. Your college is responsible for this. And it goes into all of the details for what you’re talking about. But I think you guys should
maybe expand upon that. – Yeah, you know, I kinda
like the Orange Coast model, they’re using, Chief, in that Orange Coast hired a
Director of Housing, correct, but Scion’s doing the operations. And so, they’re hiring
the RDs and the RAs. Okay, so that’s on the operations side, but there’s a Director of
Housing that’s the liaison between Scion and the college. So, some of the conduct
is going to spill over into the college because
it’s college property. Some of it’s gonna be
dealt with on a lower level by an RA or an RD. But there will be conduct
and Title IX issues, and obviously all the student
life, the residential life, is going to be a partnership between operations and the college through the Director of Housing. So, that doesn’t get
to safety and security, but I think if you looked
at their matrix here, that could be part of
the agreement, right? – That’s right. – That there is another officer
as a part of the agreement, but then that’s, everything you add is going to change your
price point, correct? Do you wanna talk about that more? – Sure. – Because I think it’s
an important thing to. – So, it’s definitely a key partnership, and going back with everything
that Robert just mentioned. And when we do our pro formas, too, that’s even shown here is it’s a very unique-to-housing
staffing matrix. It’s not like a typical market rate. It does include a lot of student life. It includes, it gives that student, we want to pull those
students out of the classroom because even all the title,
even the mental health issues. All of that is factored in to the staffing matrix that we do here. Another piece that I think is
essential I should share, too, is you have a 30 to 40-year ground lease and a deal with your private owner, that not-for-profit owner. It’s really not a private owner. The operator agreement is
typically more three to five years because as time goes on, we don’t know, maybe the college wants to be more engaged in the management. Maybe they want to take this piece. So, that can evolve as
time goes on, as well, but it is a very, very explicit level of responsibility matrix that is even before it
goes the financial close is determined. Does that answer your? – I also wanted to add something, too. So, one of the things about these deals is they’re pretty complex
because what it is is a balancing point between what we’re asking our students to pay and the features that we’re offering in the building as well as the services. So, we don’t know the answers to that yet, and one of the first steps
that we’ll be taking, assuming we go forward, is to
ask our community, all of you, to help us determine what
our goals and objectives of the project are and
prioritize them, right? So, if extra police officer
and certain student services are at the top of the list, we need to know that so that as we start to go through the features, we know that that’s a priority, let’s say, over certain, either
another type of feature, like a swimming pool or brick
on the side of the building, whatever it is. We don’t know yet right now. So, this would be, those
ideas would be explored as we get into the next phases, and we’re gonna need some help with that ’cause the prioritization’s important. – Any other questions for Scion or Lee? – Pedro, myself? Comments, things that we should know. – So, I have one last comment
to leave everybody with. This project that they’re
expecting it to be done in 2021. In the meantime, we have three years of over 1,000 students
that are housing insecure, still housing insecure,
and we probably will even after we get this finished, we’ll still have housing
insecure students. So, we still need as
many people as possible to help with this issue,
to make this go forward, but then also help with
our Student Resource Center on how to get other
students housed somehow. I already housed two
students at different times in my housing that were housing insecure. So, just reaching out
and helping this center, this resource, find places
for students to live. – Thanks for that, Cathy. I think the basic needs Resource Centers in Santa Rosa and Petaluma are gonna continue to do all they can, but this is really a community problem. And it takes all of us
doing just a little bit, referring people to the Resource Centers. DeAnna is the most
knowledgeable of the resources in the community and what
we can provide for them, and just talking to students. Sometimes that’s what they want. They want somebody who has an ear, can sit down with them, and
tell them about resources. So, thanks, that was good. Anything else for Scion? Scion, anything you want
to say to close it out? All right, very good. Next steps, you want to tell them? – Yeah, no, I just want
to talk about the process because we want to be transparent, and we want to respect governance. So, we have a workgroup,
and it’s an open workgroup. It’s open to anyone
that’s wants to join us, anyone who wants to be
part of this conversation. But I hope you understand what
we’re trying to do right now, this listening session, we’re trying to come up with a concept. We haven’t made any decisions whatsoever. This is just us, we have a good recommendation
from our experts, 350 beds. We’re looking at two locations,
but we need more input. So, going forward, we’re gonna continue to collect
input from other groups, definitely survey faculty to make sure that we understand how they
feel about that location and how they feel about
housing for faculty and staff. I think Lee is gonna help us get some information from other colleges. But this is an open process, so again, we’re just starting the process. We’re not saying this is set in stone. And I think this is very helpful today to help us decide our next steps. But I think, I’m not hearing anybody say that we shouldn’t do student housing. I think everyone understands
the sense of urgency. I think we all recognize it. So, we’re gonna move forward. We’re gonna be collaborative. We’re gonna be transparent. Frank, do you want to say any? – No. – Okay, all right. Well, thank you all. Appreciate your time, and
thank you for the input. (audience applauds)