UC San Diego has approved construction for a Seventh College which would expand the university to include additional housing and lecture halls located by the current Theatre District. The project is part of a larger plan to expand the residential and parking spaces on campus.
According to former A.S President Lesly Figueroa, preparations for the seventh college will be made by a “neighborhood planning group” that has been mostly spearheaded by the dean of student affairs and the provosts, but the planning is already behind schedule because construction has yet to begin.
The building of the seventh college is expected to done in simultaneity with Sixth College’s relocation to the North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Community, Figueroa noted. First announced in January 2016, the NTPLLC will be constructed in what is currently the parking lot between Thurgood Marshall and John Muir Colleges and is expected to house new spaces for the humanities departments and parking, as well as 2,000 beds for undergraduate living.
While the decision to move Sixth College was largely made to allow for a stop on the Mid-Coast Corridor Lightrail to take its place, the new seventh college is intended to accommodate the recent and future increases in undergraduate enrollment.
“The pressure for UC campuses to accept more undergraduate students complicates campus space,” Figueroa stated, adding that it forces temporary arrangements and requires the campus to keep changing. Such situations lower the quality of living for many students “because now you have to put [the extra undergraduates] somewhere else.”
While the designs for the residential spaces in Seventh College have not been finalized yet, Figueroa expects that there will not be triple rooms like in years past as there won’t be for the new Sixth College.
“I think it’s unrealistic to have students living in triples,” Figueroa said. “I remember [that] from being [a resident advisor] in the Village. That’s why I pushed for no triples at this new residence area that will be Sixth College’s new location. The design is supposed to be more community-oriented … which seems like it’s going to be what [will lead] the new communities that will come up, for instance seventh college.”
According to Figueroa, the university has told her that they have the capacity for the new college, but they still need to release the administration’s assessment.
“We need to see real numbers,” she stated.
The naming process for the seventh college is ongoing, but Figueroa does not expect “Seventh College” to be its official name considering that Sixth College technically has yet to be named as well.
Figueroa additionally emphasized the importance of student involvement in the planning process.
The presidents of Eleanor Roosevelt College and John Muir College Councils, as well as a representative from Roger Revelle College Council were appointed by Figueroa to sit on the seventh college’s planning committee, but Figueroa still believes that the planners should increase community engagement from students.
“You want to get students more involved,” Figueroa said. “As a planner, you need to make it more visible; in all honesty, students might not care because planning isn’t sexy work, but they’ll care as they see it come up. You need to give them an opportunity to have an opinion.”