Changes are in store for the Francisco Torres residence hall – not only for the building itself, but also for its residents and employees.

After several failed bids in recent years, UCSB finally succeeded in purchasing Francisco Torres on Dec. 23. The residence hall went on the market in May 2002, and negotiations between UCSB and College Park Communities, the facility’s former owners, began in August. The university paid $76,750,000, which it will finance with fees paid by students to UCSB Student Housing. The university has no current plans to buy more off-campus residence halls in the future, Executive Director of Housing and Residential Services William Brown said.

HRS intends to renovate FT next year, one tower at a time, drastically reducing the number of students it can house and forcing out Santa Barbara City College residents. Following the completion of the renovations, priority will still be given to UCSB students.

“Next year there are plans for renovations. Parts will be closed down for part of the year,” Associate Vice Chancellor of Administrative and Auxiliary Services Everett Kirkelie said. “More than likely there will only be UC students.”

The purchase of Francisco Torres gives the university the opportunity to house its full freshman class. Only if spaces are still available after UCSB freshmen are housed will non-UC students be considered.

“We want to be able to house the entire freshman class, which is something we have not been able to do in the past. After 2004 there is no plan for city college students,” Brown said.

The residents are not the only faces that will be changing, however, for not all FT employees may be hired back. Current FT employees are only under contract until June 30, 2003 and will then be individually considered by the university for rehire. Brown said he hopes to preserve the existing staff.

“It is our goal to retain all service employees as long as they meet the minimum UC requirements,” Brown said.

The building itself is scheduled for a facelift. The notorious scum-stained ceilings will become a thing of the past after renovating crews are done with the building. Brown said the building itself needs a lot of work. It was built in 1966 and has never had a renovation. Among cosmetic changes including new carpeting and a fresh paint job, much other work will be done to bring the building up to code.

“First [Francisco Torres] must be brought up to the best of current building codes,” Brown said. “The university has a high set of guidelines.”