Hotel nixed, housing remains in Cal Poly SLO master plan



Some of the more ambitious aspects of Cal Poly SLO’s campus master plan update were nixed over the summer, but plans to create more housing for students remains.

The university debuted a revised map for the campus master plan as part of a public process leading up to the eventual adoption of it. The plan’s revised every 10 years or so. The latest draft of the master plan update no longer includes plans to build a hotel and conference center on campus.

“Cal Poly instead will focus on further evaluating the feasibility of a new tourism and hospitality academic program and curriculum,” a press release from the university stated.

The university’s previous master plan was approved in 2001. The current update to that plan aims to address the anticipated physical needs of the campus over the next 20 years. Early concept maps released in April included the hotel. At least one of them had the facility located on 248 acres of prime agricultural land between the main campus and Highway 1. The possibility that the hotel and other development might take place on the prized land drew criticism from students and staff, and was eventually dropped from the master plan drafts. 

In addition to nixing the hotel and conference center, Cal Poly also dropped plans to move the Leaning Pines Arboretum based on input from the campus and community.

One thing that didn’t change with the latest master plan draft is a focus on providing more housing for Cal Poly’s growing student population. According to a land-use document released by Poly on Sept. 2, the current draft envisions a neighborhood for first-year undergraduates located in the southeastern section of campus. The updated map also shows several possible locations for potential apartments or suites for sophomores and other upper division students near the campus core, including sites north of Brizzolara Creek.

Housing more students on campus is an important goal for the university moving forward. Cal Poly had approximately 55,000 applications for roughly 4,500 openings for the previous academic year. According to the university’s website, one of the master plan’s goals is to house all freshmen, sophomores, and 30 percent of its juniors and seniors in on-campus housing. 

The newest version of the proposed master plan also identified potential sites for low-density housing for university faculty and staff in order to help it recruit and retain employees. In its press release, Cal Poly was quick to note that any development of such housing would occur as part of a public/private partnership and would happen in phases.

The newest revisions to the proposed plan are yet another step in a lengthy public process. According to previous New Times reports, Cal Poly hopes to bring a finalized master plan proposal to the CSU Board of Trustees for approval by the end of 2016.

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