Santa Rosa Junior College (“College”) is a public two-year community college founded nearly 100 years ago and enrolls roughly 28,000 students each semester.  The College offers classes on two campuses, one in Santa Rosa, California and the other in Petaluma, California.

Background

After a competitive selection process in February 2018, Sonoma County Junior College District (“District”) engaged The Scion Group for a programming and feasibility study for contemplated student and faculty/staff/family-student housing on both the Petaluma and Santa Rosa campuses of Santa Rosa Junior College. After declining enrollment and acute awareness of the housing challenges and insecurities their students faced in the highly competitive housing market, (further exacerbated by the devasting fires in October of 2017), the College District sought an objective advisor to assess demand for on-campus housing.

Analysis

In order to properly asses demand and institutional readiness for housing, Scion first focused on learning and understanding the unique needs of the campuses and campus communities. To do so, Scion conducted a strategic objectives workshop to identify institutional priorities, hosted multiple student focus groups, facilitated intercept interviews and met with key stakeholders on both campuses. In concert with the qualitative data, an online survey was administered to provide quantitative data to assess student, faculty, and staff housing preferences. Scion also analyzed the conditions of the off-campus rental market and reviewed housing at peer and aspirational institutions as identified by the College.

After gathering both the qualitative and quantitative data, Scion’s analysis determined there was both interest in on-campus housing as well as demand for on-campus housing for students at both campuses as well as interest and demand for faculty/staff/family-student housing. Upon completion of the financial analysis and review of potential implementation strategies, the study determined that student housing and faculty/staff/family-student housing would have the greatest financial viability on the Santa Rosa campus. The Scion report assisted the institution in understanding College and student readiness with regards to the overall impact on campus life and services if students were to live on-campus and outlined the viability, financial implications, and risk and control implications of the potential financing and ownership options to institutional leadership.

Results

Informed by Scion’s analysis and in concert with the College’s strategic objectives and the District’s financial goals, the Sonoma County Junior College District determined it would deliver the housing project on the Santa Rosa campus through a public-private-partnership (P3). Scion’s scope was broadened to include providing the College and District with P3 advisory services to guide the procurement, selection and development process of the housing project.

In partnership with the District, Scion wrote the developer RFP and advocated on behalf of the College and District to ensure the selected development team would further the College’s goals and mission relating to the on-campus housing. As of Fall 2019, the planning and design for the Project is well underway and Scion continues to serve as an advisor and program manager, providing continuous support and attending all Project meetings with the College and the development team, to further the College’s desired outcomes. The Project is expected to open in Fall 2022.

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