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East campus construction to aid grad housing crisis

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In an effort to provide more housing for graduate students, major construction on east campus will provide students with 2,431 new beds in four multi-story buildings. The project includes the demolition of several one or two story buildings.

There are several construction projects on campus, such as a new roundabout, childcare facility and a Manzanita parking structure, according to Stanford News. However, Gabriela Badica, a third year Ph.D. in the Division of Literatures, Cultures and Language and Graduate Student Council member, said the housing expansion is one of the most critical projects happening on campus. As a part of the Graduate Housing Advisory Committee, Badica explained there is simply not enough space for graduate students to live on campus. This is especially a problem because the pricing for off campus housing is so high, she said.

Demolition of older buildings will make more space for new grad housing (CHETANA RAMAIYER/The Stanford Daily).

“I’m a graduate student, and I know what it’s like to live here; I know the financial situation of graduate students,” Badica said. “Basically if you can’t have on campus housing, it’s going to be incredibly hard to make it as a graduate student. We have limited stipends and campus housing is so much cheaper than living off campus on your own. “

Badica serves as a community associate, which means she communicates with leaders on the construction project because it affects residents for whom she is a resource.

Graduate students have to enter a lottery and wait to find out where they live, which Badica described as “stressful.” The new houses will provide affordable and accessible housing for graduate students.

“To make it as a student, you really need housing to be stable, otherwise it throws off everything,” Badica said. “If you’re stressed about housing, you can’t study, you can’t work. Having on campus housing… lets us do our teaching and our studying, which is the whole reason we moved down here.”

The new Escondido Village Residences are scheduled for occupancy in the fall of 2020. The construction is not all positive though, as neighboring communities deal with noise, dust and traffic disruption. However, Laura Goldstein, executive director of project management in land, buildings and real estate, said the university kept in close touch with the communities to keep them up-to-date with the construction.

Although construction is noisy, R&DE is making accommodations for affected residents (CHETANA RAMAIYER/The Stanford Daily).

We have been working with many University stakeholders, and particularly R&DE, to make sure that students living nearby are aware of potential impacts and the project schedule,” Goldstein said in an email to the Daily. “Detailed information will be available on our website headsup.stanford.edu which is updated weekly.”

In one case, an old area of residency was demolished in order to create the new one, displacing residents. However, Badica said she spoke with the R&DE who agreed to provide moving assistance to the old residents as well as give them first priority for new on-campus housing, making the construction worth it.

“In the Bay Area, Silicon Valley, things are expensive and it’s very difficult for students to compete if they don’t have on campus housing,” Badica said. “So for future students, it’s nice to know that there will be 2000 more spaces because they’ll really need it.”

Contact Chetana Ramaiyer at chetana.ramaiyer ‘at’ gmail.com

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