Since students last stepped foot on campus in early 2020, construction has begun on the Rachel Carson/Oakes Dining Hall and the scaffolding for new housing has risen at Kresge College. The two projects have set completion dates for fall 2022, placing students on the west side of campus next to two major construction sites and leaving one dining hall closed until completion. 

New Frosh Dormitories for Kresge College

The first phase of Kresge College construction is building three new residential halls in what used to be the Kresge Meadows behind buildings R1 and R2. The three new buildings will have classic dormitory style rooms, compared to the traditional apartment style housing of Kresge College.

Director of Capital Planning for Colleges, Housing, and Educational Services Steve Houser compared the style of the new dorms, similar to those at Colleges Nine and Ten. Houser also said that the new construction plans address the bed count concerns within the college, which currently can house the fewest number of students.

“One is to build more beds,” Houser said. “We need them not only for the affiliation issue, but we have a housing problem in Santa Cruz. We also wanted to build sort of more appropriate beds for those first years, and some second years.”

While current construction doesn’t directly impact any current Kresge buildings, the North Bridge coming into the college is temporarily unusable, rerouting students through the Redwood Grove Apartments. Renovations to existing Kresge College buildings are not set to begin until fall 2022. 

Senior Director of Student Life at Porter, Kresge, Rachel Carson, and Oakes Colleges, Michael Yamauchi-Gleason, expects there to be quite a bit of noise with ongoing construction beginning at eight each morning during the weekdays. 

“There will be some noise, and congestion, but hopefully it won’t be too bad. We’ve offered earplugs in the past to help students out,” Yamauchi-Gleason said. “I think some of our students will be fine with the noise and others, it will be an issue for them. And we’ll address those issues as they come along.”

Rachel Carson/Oakes Dining Hall 

While in the past the primary dining hall for the west side of campus was the Rachel Carson/Oakes Dining, this year the Porter/Kresge Dining Hall will be the go to food spot for the four colleges on the west side of campus. 

In an attempt to mitigate the influx of students into the Porter/Kresge Dining Hall, the outdoor patio has been expanded, adding 80 seats, new weather curtains, and heat lamps. In addition, Oakes Café is expanding its offerings and meal plan use options and the College Eight Café will act as a food pantry under the control of UCSC Basic Needs office. 

“It will be crowded, because we’ll have another sister pair of students wanting to eat there, so it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out,” Yamauchi-Gleason said. “Once classes are in place, I think people figure out what’s the best time to go eat because we have continuous dining. So I think students will kind of figure out where the peak periods are. And if they can, they’ll avoid those. Or they’ll find another dining hall that is closer because of their classes. But it will be crowded.”

Alongside the closure of the dining hall, much of the surrounding area will be closed off, including the basketball court, volleyball court, grass area, and bridge into Student Family Housing. The main walkway through Rachel Carson College will remain open, with the mailroom being moved to an on-site trailer. 

The dining hall is projected to reopen in 2022-23.