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Financial crisis delays student housing project

Story by Nick Ng

Board trustees at Palomar College initiated the first step to develop on-campus housing for students last July. As a result of of the District’s financial problems, the housing process has since been delayed.

Despite this, the project will work to assist homeless students who sleep in their cars in off-campus parking lots.

Board members were asked to authorize the District to prepare a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the project. The proposal requests for help from private firms that are familiar with establishing similar housing projects.

The proposal works so that the private group submit their qualifications “to finance, design, build, maintain, and operate” on-campus housing.

“I don’t think [housing] is a problem for a lot of students,” said Palomar student Issac Maciel. “The housing may increase tuition and taxes and inflate food prices.”

In the past six months, board trustees have been “studying other entities and community colleges that had pursed this type of project,” said Julie Lanthier Bandy, Director of Public Affairs at Palomar College.

Bandy also said that the last meeting regarding the on-campus housing, the direction “was to have [the] administration team develop an RFP to identify a consultant who is well-versed in developing these types of partnerships, who would then help us develop an RFP that would solicit private entities that we might work with.”

“If you look at Orange Coast College, they used a private entity to build their on-campus housing,” Bandy said.

Last spring, Palomar College worked with The Scion Group, a private advisory firm from Chicago that works with college housing around the U.S.

After reviewing the data Scion presented, the Board moved forward with the Request for Proposal.

AB 302, a bill that allows students to park and sleep overnight on the campus’s parking lots has since been “shelved”, according to Bandy.

Palomar officials believe that the on-campus housing can provide these students shelter and basic needs.

“It might be more expensive for some students on top of the tuition,” student Rachel Howard said, regarding the potential on-campus housing option. “What would the living arrangement be like?” Howard asked.

Despite the project’s delay, the approval of the proposal is one step closer to making on-campus housing a reality.

For more information about the on-campus housing project, please contact Julie L. Bandy at jlanthierbandy@palomar.edu.

nng@the-telescope.com

 

 

 

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