Neighbors object to proposed Cal Poly dormitory

November 7, 2013

calpoly dormCal Poly officials are planning to build a 1,400-bed dormitory next to the Grand Avenue entrance to campus and across the street from a residential neighborhood amid opposition from neighbors. [KSBY]

The university plans to build the dorm on an existing parking lot at the corner of Grand Avenue and Slack Street. The proposed facility includes a welcome center, a coffee shop and a 300-car garage to mitigate the loss of parking spots.

At a forum announcing the plans Wednesday evening, neighbors expressed opposition to the proposed location of the dorm.

Joe Arsenio, who lives near campus, said the dorm belongs deeper into the campus near Poly Canyon Village.

“The sort of the ranging about on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights in search of drinking parties would be less of an influence than it would be if it was on the corner of our street,” Arsenio said.

Cal Poly administrators said they want to increase the number of students living on campus, in particularly freshmen. Currently, about 30 percent of students live on campus.

In order for the university to build the dorm, it must gain approval from the Cal State University Board of Trustees. If that occurs on schedule, construction could begin in late 2015.



Why is the architecture of this building so lame?

Cal Poly has an architecture program but judging by what comes out of it, it sure seems cookie-cutter lame.


I would like to see a return to the old approach to dealing with unruly, disrespectful college students who drink and cause trouble. People who behaved like that used to be expelled. If there are no significant negative consequences, the behavior won’t change.

In recent years, the colleges have abdicated their responsibilities to the communities where they reside. Essentially, they are running businesses, and they need to be held responsible for the impacts their businesses have on the community. If the colleges were held responsible, you can bet they would take steps to get the students to behave.


Cal Poly only expels you is if you cause direct embarrassment to Cal Poly. Behavior such as excessive drinking is blamed on individuals; Cal Poly always manages to sidestep responsibility. If you manage to kill someone with your drinking, you bring bad press to Cal Poly; only then are you expelled. You’re only expelled to make it seem like Cal Poly is actually doing something about the problem, which they aren’t.


First of all, is new student housing for its existing students needed? I say no.

Second, is bringing off-campus students into student housing really their motivation? I say no. I believe CP wants to build the new housing because they want to bring out-of-state and out-of-country students to CP en masse. These categories of students pay more, and that is what motivates college administrators now. They’ve been moving in that direction for years now, so the fact that they are planning more new student housing is not surprising.

I have a big problem with bringing out-of-state/coutry students to CP because it was California’s past generations that built our college system, and that investment should not be spent to court out-of-state/foreign students.

CalPoly has trouble with getting its students out of a four-year program in four years as it is. Because CP has challenges making available high-demand classes to its current student population, it appears to be unable to serve its current students’ needs. CP’s priority should be serving the needs of their current student population, not building new housing to court even more students.

Third, the placement is just wrong for student housing. It will greatly denigrate the existing residential environment.

Can you imagine having that behemouth building looming over your own home? Care to have the increased foot and vehicle traffic on the streets and sidewalks in front of your residence? How about the concentration of intoxicated students wandering hither and yon, urinating in your shrubbery, and obnoxiously caterwalling during the early morning yours?


I’m not in favor of this project for many of the reasons you state, Mary. That being said, your first statement about housing not being needed for existing students is 100% incorrect. I have a freshman on campus and MOST of the dorm rooms – built for two – are housing three.


But wait, it gets worse. Putting more students into a dorm than the dorm was designed for happens all the time in classrooms. Let’s face it, the quality of education is dropping. Packing more students into a classroom saves the school a ton money. Only the teachers seem to care, but there is only so much we can do. But, don’t worry, the size of the university advancement department has seen a 3x increase in size during the last few years.


Mary, I object to your “keep the foreigners out of our colleges” attitude.

I also find your bigoted attitude toward our local students objectionable and misleading when you suggest that residents of Cal Poly dorms will be continually intoxicated and habitually urinating on neighbor’s properties.

I don’t think you understand dorm life and thus you paint an ugly portrait that I believe is based on bigotry and ignorance.

Jorge Estrada

Can the couple who want to build on their ten acres over the hill, who have to place 20 low flush toilets within their water basin area, so that they create the water surplus for their home, be allowed to use this campus for the receptor, because most if not all already have low flow toilets in their basin area?


I read other arguments, elsewhere, about this. The general consensus is we aren’t opposed to, we just want deeper in campus.

Do the people opposed really think this will stop students from going to nearby areas because they have to walk a little further? They are young, a little extra walking probably won’t matter to them on a Fri. or Sat. night when they are board.

I hear the complaint about students living in SLO neighborhoods and load parties. So the campus tries to build extra housing on campus, to get the students, back on campus and they (Cal Poly) still get beat up.

It is obvious with the argument people are making against, it has put Poly in a damn if you do, damn if you don’t situation. Why can’t those people opposed just be honest and say they don’t want any of it period and save us the I’m not opposed but………..B.S. for someone else.


I disagree. Mr. Arsenio has a valid concern. 1,400 students living on his corner will greatly impact the quality of life for him and his neighbors. The dorm should be built further onto Cal Poly campus, not smack dab at the entrance of Slack St./Grand Ave.


Not addressing concern one way or the other. I am addressing arguments. I have read numerous times over the years people in those same neighborhoods complaining about all the students and the parting from those who share houses, living there.

So you do this and still doesn’t work. Poly gave valid reasons why the other areas deeper in the campus won’t work.

So again if he is opposes, great but I wish people wouldn’t say in the next breath they don’t have a problem with the big picture, when past shows they do.


QUOTING BTDT: Do the people opposed really think this will stop students from going to nearby areas because they have to walk a little further?


Red-herring argument. Obviously, the folks who own and reside near campus are quite familiar with foot and vehicle traffic associated with the CP campus.

This looming development in a residential neighborhood will, however, bring a large concentration of CP students to the neighborhood, with all of the problems attendant to that reality.


Mary you say Red herring argument? Here is his own words………

“The sort of the ranging about on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights in search of drinking parties would be less of an influence than it would be if it was on the corner of our street,” Arsenio said.

I don’t make this stuff up. I only comment on what I read. So I don’t know with a statement like that if they DO realize the foot and vehicle traffic. I would think they would but with this statement, either he doesn’t or back to my original point, this is a redirect argument to say he doesn’t want, which is fine, just say you don’t want but save the weak arguments that it is better served deeper in the campus and this will keep kids from wondering around.