Cal Poly’s new student housing community — with its expansive outdoor spaces, gleaming new buildings and views of the San Luis Obispo hills — is nearly complete, just in time for the start of fall classes.
Workers are hurrying to assemble furniture, finish the landscaping and put the final touches on the yakʔitʸutʸu complex for first-year students — located at the Grand Avenue entrance to campus — as campus officials make the final push to get the $198 million project move-in ready by Sept. 14.
The sprawling 12-acre community consists of seven three- to five-story residential buildings containing a total of 1,475 beds, an adjacent four-level parking structure, large open spaces for outdoor activities, laundry facilities, a welcome center and more.
“For first-year housing we try to make a lot of emphasis on community, lots of community spaces and programming to really give students that foundation they need to move forward,” said Sadie Rogers, a graphic designer and member of the yakʔitʸutʸu campus education committee, during a tour of the facilities Tuesday afternoon.
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Cal Poly partnered with the Northern Chumash tribe, which played a significant role in “everything from project design to education and outreach around their culture and language,” according to the university.
The yakʔitʸutʸu name translates to “our community” in Northern Chumash, and the seven residence halls draw their names from tribal sites found along the Central Coast: elewexe (Paso Robles), nipumūʔ (Nipomo), tiłhini (San Luis Obispo), tsʰɨtqawɨ (Morro Bay), tšɨłkukunɨtš (Carrizo Plain), tsɨpxatu (Avila) and tsɨtkawayu (Cambria).
Yakʔitʸutʸu is the first residential community for first-year students built on Cal Poly’s campus since Sierra Madre opened in 1973.
A standard double room in the new complex will cost $9,085 for the academic year, or $1,075.75 per month, according to the school’s online housing website. A quad room will cost $7,847 for the year, or $921 per month. A $500 initial housing payment also is required for first-year students.
Rooms come with a twin XL bed, wardrobe, desk and chair, a small dresser and a mini fridge. Students also will have access to a communal kitchen, digital TV service, and wireless and wired high-speed internet in each building.
Each mixed-gender floor shares one to two common all-gender bathrooms, depending on the size of the building, the school said.
There is enhanced privacy in the all-gender restrooms, with toilets and showers separated by full-length walls.
The new housing community comes one year after Cal Poly officials were left scrambling last fall when 22,188 students enrolled, which included a 21 percent increase in first-time freshmen from the previous year, according to PolyView documents on the school’s institutional research website.
As a result, many first-year students were placed in continuing housing rather than residence halls.
The closure of Fremont Hall following a mudslide that threatened the structure in February 2017 forced more first-year students out of residence halls and into on-campus apartments.
“By adding yakʔitʸutʸu and converting back all suited apartment spaces into single rooms, we gained 100 bed spaces over 2017,” the university said.
All campus apartments are reserved exclusively for continuing students this year. Fremont Hall will remained closed for the 2018-19 school year.
Although the official move-in date is still a couple weeks away, resident advisers were already arriving Tuesday and finding their rooms, pushing large bins of their belongings around the ongoing construction.
“Obviously, we’re in the mad-dash right now,” Rogers said.
Cal Poly plans to house 7,769 total students on campus this fall, though the number could fluctuate before classes start Sept. 20.
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