UC Santa Barbara plans to construct new student housing, dubbed San Benito Housing, following the dissolution of the Munger Hall housing project.

UCSB spokesperson Kiki Reyes said the planned development will meet the university’s LRDP target of 3,500 beds. Courtesy of UC Santa Barbara

Construction is set to begin in 2025, with a planned opening in Fall 2027. 

The development aims to fulfill the university’s obligation to the Long Range Development Plan (LRDP), a contract with Santa Barbara County and the City of Goleta calling for the university to cap enrollment at 25,000 by 2025 and add 5,000 beds for the additional students the University of California mandated each campus enroll by 2025. 

In a statement to the Nexus, UCSB spokesperson Kiki Reyes said the planned development will meet the university’s LRDP target of 3,500 beds. Reyes said the university added over 1,500 beds already through the San Joaquin and Sierra Madre Villages, and San Benito Housing will complete the LRDP goal.

The project is split into two phases, with Phase 1 entailing construction of a new building at the corner of Mesa Road and Stadium Road, and Phase 2 comprising infill and redevelopment of existing campus housing to add additional beds, according to the UCSB Housing, Dining and Auxiliary Enterprises website. Phase 1 has a target occupancy of 2,250 undergraduate beds, with no specified numbers for Phase 2.

Facilities Management, Design & Construction Services and Transportation & Parking Services are currently located at the planned building site of Phase 1. According to the housing development website, these services will be relocated to buildings in Cabrillo Business Park throughout the 2023-24 school year. 

Phase 2 of the project will occur concurrently with Phase 1. Architecture firms Skidmore, Owings & Merrill of Los Angeles, in association with Mithun of Seattle, were selected to design housing for the planned sites; the planning phase is currently underway, according to Reyes. A building committee, comprised of UCSB faculty and community members, will oversee the planning phase of the project in conjunction with the Academic Senate and Chancellor Henry T. Yang.

The committee met several times this past fall quarter and discussed aspects of the project such as the number of beds, floor plans, amenities and general layout, Reyes said. The student representation on the board is through A.S. President Tessa Veksler and Graduate Student Association Co-President Annjulie Vester. The committee has solicited student feedback through mailing questionnaires to students and inviting students living in campus residence halls to meetings.

“Following the planning and design phase, the campus will seek approval by the UC Board of Regents in order to expedite the construction phase and help the campus meet our long-term housing goals, and enhance the quality of academic excellence and student life on our campus,” Reyes said in a statement to the Nexus. “The campus has already completed extensive work including site and environmental studies at the proposed locations, which will help accelerate the planning phase.”

A version of this article appeared on p. 1 of the Feb. 1, 2023, print edition of the Daily Nexus.


Sindhu Ananthavel
Sindhu Ananthavel (she/they) is the Lead News Editor for the 2023-24 school year. Previously, Ananthavel was the Deputy News Editor for the 2022-23 school year, the Community Outreach News Editor for the 2021-22 school year and an assistant news editor for the 2021-22 school year. She can be reached at news@dailynexus.com.