The lascivious lifestyle of Francisco Torres may become nothing more than a fond memory as the university prepares to take over the towers.

After renovations are complete on the Francisco Torres Residence Hall, which UCSB purchased from College Park Communities in December 2002, the university will have space for nearly a third of its students in university-owned housing. The deal will also result in the displacement of hundreds of Santa Barbara City College students.

UCSB’s main purpose in buying the facility was to alleviate the current housing crunch on campus. With FT’s additional 1,325 beds, the university expects to be able to guarantee housing to all freshmen in the near future, Housing and Residential Services’ Executive Director Wilfred Brown said. The target population for FT will be freshmen, as UCSB promises housing priority to freshmen and transfer students.

UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang said in November 2002 that the university is making a strong commitment to the quality of life of UCSB students with the purchase of FT.

“Owning the property would allow us to extend a greater range of services and campus support to our students living in Francisco Torres,” Yang told the Daily Nexus at the time.

In the past several years, UCSB has been able to offer housing to 60 percent of entering freshmen, and guarantees all freshmen a “residence hall experience” by working with university-affiliated residence halls Fontainebleu, Tropicana Gardens and Francisco Torres prior to the sale.

Currently, UCSB is able to house 24.8 percent of the total student population, including graduate students, in on- and off-campus housing. The purchase of Francisco Torres will raise that number to 32 percent. After the completion of the planned San Clemente graduate housing project at Storke Field in 2005, UCSB will be able to house 38 percent of its student population.

While the purchase of FT ensures that more UCSB students will have housing come fall, some 300 Santa Barbara City College students who would have lived in FT next year will be left out in the cold.

“Although we are disappointed, their decision is understandable,” SBCC Director of Student/Alumni Activities Ann Fryslie said, referring to UCSB’s decision not to allow SBCC students to live in FT next year. In the past, approximately 23 percent of FT has been occupied by SBCC students.

When UCSB assumes full management of FT in fall 2003, student discipline at the residence hall will fall under the university’s jurisdiction, meaning that Housing and Residential Services will choose new staff and implement new rules and enforcement policies. Some students have expressed concern that after the university takes control of FT, the living environment may become more strictly regulated like it is in on-campus residence halls, which they chose not to live in. Others do not think the change will be significant.

“[I] can’t speculate about next year but from my experience FT’s reputation is a little overrated,” Taylor Boyko, FT resident and first-year computer engineering major, said. “So I don’t anticipate a problem.”

The most obvious changes in FT next year will be physical ones. Extensive renovations are planned for the towers, including new carpets and furniture. Costs for renovations are not yet finalized, but they have been budgeted for around $25 million. The cost of the purchase and renovation of FT falls within the budget of Housing and Residential Services, mainly through fees paid by university housing residents.

The project is expected to be approved at the July meeting of the UC Board of Regents, with construction planned to begin on the North Tower in August, during which time students will live only in South Tower. The 30-week project is expected to be finished by the middle of Winter Quarter 2004, when renovations on South Tower will begin and students will move into North Tower. South Tower is planned to be complete by August 2004, at which time both towers will be available for student housing in the 2004-05 school year, Brown said. The project is anticipated to take a total of 50 weeks.