If HSU was known as the “hills, stairs and umbrellas” campus, Cal Poly Humboldt could soon be dubbed the university of construction, parking and housing.
In August, the University released a prospectus outlining its plans to spend the state’s one-time $443 million endowment to transform the school into California’s third polytechnic and double student enrollment in seven years.
While the prospectus outlined the University’s general plans to add several new buildings for universities and student accommodation by 2027, the school did not specify how it would make room for many of these new ones. projects. But in late January, around the same time HSU was renamed Cal Poly Humboldt, the school quietly released a much more detailed infrastructure plan on its website — one that includes a slew of demolition projects and elevated parking structures that would significantly change the school. onset within five years.
“The injection of one-time resources will be instrumental in upgrading the existing teaching space needed to meet the existing, growing and future demand for laboratory space to support teaching and research,” says the University prospectus, hinting that major demolition projects are coming. “The University is limited in opportunities for growth within its existing acreage.”
According to the Infrastructure Projects webpage, CPH’s first major construction would be the long-debated Craftsman’s Mall housing project. While the city of Arcata originally projected the building would be home to 65% students and 35% “free market” residents, Los Angeles-based licensed development firm AMCAL mysteriously withdrew its bid in 2018 after the city of Arcata said the company had invested more than $1 million in the project. In 2020, the Humboldt State University Foundation purchased the 9.5-acre property for $3.95 million.
The January Infrastructure Update also estimates that the proposed project would cost $150 million, or $50 million more than the University originally stated in its prospectus. The development would include four buildings, 800 beds, study areas, a small convenience store, open common space and 350 parking spaces – all exclusively for CPH students.
The University is also actively working with the City of Arcata to develop the adjacent railroad shoreline as part of the Arcata Annie & Mary Trail Connectivity Project, linking the development to the University via the freeway overpasses at Sunset Avenue and St. Louis Road. CPH expects the housing project to be completed by December 2024.
The first infrastructure project on campus involves the construction of the new “Engineering & Technology – Learning Community Building” on the current site of Campus Events Field. Traditionally an open field for student activities, the grounds have recently housed bungalows to facilitate the University’s Library and Theater Arts seismic renovation projects. It now appears that the land will be permanently paved in order to accommodate the five-story, 90,000-square-foot engineering building and an adjacent three-story, 250-bed residence hall. These proposed buildings will include academic departments, lecture halls, laboratories, offices, student spaces, common areas, conference spaces, and other “student experience spaces.” The $135 million project is expected to be completed by August 2025.
While the loss of the event field will mean a significant reduction in grassed space near the center of campus, CPH Associate Vice President of Facilities Management Mike Fisher told the Outpost that the University consider including exterior landscaping in the new design.
“What is this project [aims] to do is create an entrance for the campus and this building,” Fisher said. “It will be tiered with landscaping and concrete walkways that will take you to the heart of campus. There will be space there, landscaping, places to sit and think, places for trees, paintings and outdoor instruction areas.
The first serious demolition on campus will involve the Jensen House – the current home of the university’s children’s center, located on the south end of campus. In its place, the University plans to construct a 25,000 square foot microgrid and sustainability building by January 2025. The infrastructure report indicates that the building will be used as a test facility for energy systems and will provide a “home for sustainability” on Campus. The $24 million project will also include spaces for academic departments, laboratory research, offices, conferences, students and a common area.
In January, CPH announced plans to move the Children’s Center and Child Development Lab to the renovated Trinity Annex by June 2023.
By August 2026, CPH plans to complete construction of its new Library Circle Student Housing, Health & Dining Building, as well as the university’s first parking structure. This structure will add approximately 500 new parking spaces to the lot located at the northwest end of campus near Granite Avenue and LK Wood Boulevard.
“The project would build approximately 200,000 [gross square feet] at the northwest corner of Library Circle and LK Wood Boulevard,” the infrastructure project reads. “The building will contain a new health center and expanded catering services with 650-bed residential complexes above.”
These proposed projects are estimated at $175 million and would result in the demolition of several campus houses, including the “little apartments,” used for CPH’s ZipCar service, Brero House, which houses the Indian Tribal and Educational Staff Program of the university, Hagopian House, and Feuerwerker House, previously used by the now-emptied public radio station KHSU.
“Older homes at a public facility are problematic for many reasons, including code compliance and maintenance costs,” Fisher said. “Not to say they’re not valuable on campus.”
The final phase of the infrastructure overhaul would include the demolition of campus apartments, the current sculpture and ceramics labs, the Warren House, and the Bret Harte House – the longtime home of the Journalism Department of the university.
The Bret Harte House. | CPH Journalism Department Facebook Page
Deidre Pike, associate professor of journalism at CPH, told the Outpost that many journalism alumni were heartbroken to learn that the beloved building might be destroyed.
“Bret Harte House is the kind of wonderful boutique cottage that exudes Humboldt culture,” Pike said. “So those of us who have had the privilege of living, advising, teaching, and connecting with students in this lovely, historic, unofficially designated part of campus are devastated.”
Pike added that the final stage of construction includes removing more greenery and several mature redwood trees.
“It’s not just our hallowed halls on the chopping block, but some spectacular mature landscaping and several large stands of redwood trees,” she said. “Warren House, Campus Apartments, the Ceramics Studios – this whole hill descends to make way for a parking lot topped with dormitories. All of that is necessary, yes. But preserving a tiny bit of our Humboldt culture would be a huge necessary morale boost. right now for faculty, students, and alumni. We don’t want to be another strip mall on Cal State Strip.
The small grove of redwoods has proven to be a hazard in the past, including in 2015 when a giant tree fell directly onto the roof of the four-story student building.
“When redwoods are in freestanding groves like this, they’re exposed to winds from all directions,” Fisher said. “It’s very valuable.”
However, he added that no major landscaping would be done without community input.
“Whenever we encounter geological or landscape issues on campus, we try to work around those issues as much as possible,” Fisher said. “It is simply too early to tell. There’s so much planning between now and when this project goes live. We would always pass this type of decision making through a landscaping committee and community forum. »
The $110 million campus apartments and parking structure project will include the addition of 600 to 700 beds and 650 new parking spaces. Construction is expected to be completed by December 2027. Fisher said the journalism department and the ceramics and sculpture labs will receive new homes at a later date.
CPH also has several major academic renovation projects planned in addition to the aforementioned infrastructure projects. These renovations include more space and updated labs for Alistair McCrone Hall and Science Buildings A and C. The University will also invest $21 million in marine facilities at the Eureka Research Laboratory (Offshore Wind Laboratory). This includes the Teloncher Marine Lab, the University’s “Coral Sea” marine research vessel, and a new Eureka research lab.
Although these projects are expected to be completed by 2027, Fisher and CPH spokeswoman Aileen Yoo told the Outpost that all of this information is subject to change.
“Nothing is set in stone,” Yoo said. “Plans have been and continue to be fluid and progressive, and we are sharing information as we have more details.”