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SDSU Housing Expansion Part Salve for Community Complaints

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In the wake of community outcry about mini-dorms and growing concern about student overcrowding in the College Area, San Diego State University is proposing a residence hall expansion project. Full Focus reporter Heather Hill has more on the campus housing plan and community reaction.

San Diego State University wants to expand student housing -- nearly doubling the number of beds available to students on campus.

There are currently 25,000 full-time students at SDSU, but only room for 3,200 of them to live on campus. And the problem will only get worse as enrollment grows at record pace. The overcrowding spills into surrounding neighborhoods, and residents have a long list of complaints about noise, trash and parking problems.

Earlier this year, the university made public a development plan that included on-campus housing facilities for 1,400 more students. But many residents told SDSU this wasn't enough to really make a change.

Lauren Cooper, SDSU Facilities Planning : We have taken the community input into account and we're responding to the community. We have clearly heard that they thought there wasn’t enough housing on our campus and that there wouldn't be with the expansion of students, and so we took a look at what we could provide on the land that we have and this new plan proposes that.

The revised proposal includes four new 10-story residence halls, big enough to house 800 students. Three will be located east of College Avenue, and one will be built on the west side. The expansion also includes a new apartment building on Alvarado Road.

Two campus dorms, built in the late 1950s, will be torn down to make room for the larger facilities.

Roberta Eidemiller has lived in her college-area home on Hewlett Drive for just over 50 years. She's unhappy with the private homes turned mini-dorms cropping up in her neighborhood. Eidemiller applauds the new housing plan, but says even more should be done to help ease the impact of students on the surrounding community.

Roberta Eidemiller, College Area Homeowner : Probably the Freshman that are coming in should all be required to live on campus so they know what living in that type of situation is, they can learn what it's all about. I have heard that the students prefer not to live on campus so they can be in their own setting and do what they want to do.

SDSU also has plans to take over management of several nearby privately-owned apartment complexes and rent them out to students. This will free-up an additional 3,500 beds in the fall.

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