The San Clemente graduate student housing project, to be built on a portion of Storke Field, will have a lesser environmental impact than previously anticipated.

The Los Angeles-based architectural firms Fields Devereaux Architects & Engineers and Wolf Architecture are designing the project according to a concept called “sustainable development,” a type of construction that is intended to have a smaller impact on the environment than typical methods. The UCSB Campus Planning Committee approved the project on Oct. 30 and construction is slated to begin in August 2003, with doors opening in September 2005.

“We will be using recycled products for construction, solar heating of water, as well as radiant heating installed in the floor,” UCSB Coordinator of Resource Planning Charles Haines said.

Construction will take place on a 312,610 square foot area located on Storke Field across from the Santa Ynez apartments at a cost of $124 million, Haines said. Housing will consist of studios and four-bedroom apartments contained in two and three-story buildings, providing 972 graduate student beds.

“The entire project is going to be built on top of a parking garage that’s one-half level below [ground] and one-half level above [ground],” Haines said. “This way we can use natural ventilation instead of mechanical ventilation, which is another environmental plus.”

Members of UCSB Associated Students expressed concern about the amount of space to be occupied by the housing in a prior proposal. A.S. President Brian Hampton, who argued against the plan, said it has been changed to take up less room.

“Configuration [of the buildings] has been changed to make the impact on the fields less intrusive,” he said.

The two architectural firms are working with departments on campus to plan the movement of Storke Field to the northwest to maximize area. This will displace Parking Lot 38, which will be moved toward the tennis courts.

“[Storke Field] is going to be slightly smaller than it is now, but we’ve been working with the Physical Activities and Recreational departments, and trying to make sure they get the exact same utility out of it,” Haines said.

The rising costs of housing in Santa Barbara County have caused worry among some graduate students and prompted them to pressure UCSB for more housing.

“Anything would help the current situation. The prices are outrageous and they keep getting higher, and it’s not as if we’re getting more money,” graduate student Jackie Eng said. “If it’s university-owned, it’s probably cheaper than private housing.”