Cal Poly has scratched the idea of building a hotel and conference center on campus for now, postponed a decision on whether to move to a year-round schedule and opted not to move the Leaning Pine Arboretum.
The university also won’t develop prime agricultural land along Highway 1 that previously was being studied for other uses.
President Jeffrey Armstrong announced the key decisions this week as part of the latest version of Cal Poly’s Master Plan Update, which sets out the long-term vision for the university’s facilities and land use.
The proposal is part of a public process that will culminate in the university’s submittal of an environmental impact report to the California State University Board of Trustees — expected to happen in spring 2017.
In multiple draft plans in April, the university envisioned a new hotel and conference center on campus, costing an estimated $48 million. But Armstrong said the idea has been taken off the table for the time being because “we’re not ready” and “we’re not sure whether it makes financial sense.”
Armstrong also said the university isn’t sure whether Cal Poly will establish a new tourism/hospitality academic program yet. However, the university is actively studying the possibilities for such a program, working with a consultant and taking faculty input.
“We’ve said all along we don’t have to have a hotel in order to have a program,” Armstrong said. “If we have a program, we could partner with hotels off-campus.”
Cal Poly’s updated Master Plan sets forth a blueprint for development and land use on campus over the next 20 years.
Taken together, the projects likely will cost billions of dollars. Cal Poly hopes to pay for some of them through public-private partnerships — leasing land to developers to build student and non-traditional student housing, then leasing back the residential buildings, for example.
The university aims to finalize its Master Plan draft in November or December so that it can move forward with the environmental impact report. Public meetings will be held to allow input on the latest concept.
The university’s schematic includes residential housing on the southeast corner and western edges of campus and six designated areas of student housing located around the campus core.
Armstrong said the university’s goal is to house 65 percent of students on campus, with the student body ultimately growing to 25,000.
In order to meet that objective, the campus will need to grow to 15,000 student beds from its current total of 7,500. An additional 1,500 will be built with the new dorm project soon to be underway on the south end of campus off Grand Avenue.
“The Master Plan process is critical to our future, and the input we’ve received has been tremendously valuable,” Armstrong said in a statement.
Other keys in the university’s refined plan include:
- An age-qualified housing unit for seniors on the south end of campus
- A new sports arena and renovated Mott Gym
- Expanded dining and business hubs at the University Union and Creekside Village on the north end of the campus core, where there will be sites for possible pubs
- A new location for the ornamental horticulture unit greenhouses on the west end of campus at Highland Drive and Mt. Bishop Road.
- Upgrading the athletic track on the south end of campus
- A solar farm
Armstrong said “thousands of people have weighed in on the process” and “we will continue to engage the campus and community in the process.”
As for expanding summer instruction to offer a year-round academic program, Armstrong said Cal Poly is still interested in the idea but has tabled it to focus on the Master Plan Update, issues concerning quality of life on campus for students, faculty and staff; and diversifying the campus.
“We had planned to have a task force and evaluate year-round operation this fall,” Armstrong said. “We value it and think it may have potential for the future. We’re just not going to study it at this time.”