One hurdle for COS students? Housing. Here's how the school is planning to help

Mike Meyer

In recent years students with the bug to go to the College of the Siskiyous could not always find a place to live, and so they never came to the college. 

COS receives about 250 applications per year, but the two residence halls have just 70 rooms, with beds for 150-160 students.

College of the Siskiyous

Renting an apartment in Weed is also a hurdle since the Boles Fire in 2015 when many rentals burned. Of the three major apartments left in Weed, two do not accept students. 

Housing is critical, and students have shown that if they don’t secure a room on the first try, they go elsewhere. 

“If students don’t get a room, they stop trying,” said Dr. Stephen Schoonmaker, superintendent and president of the college.

But by 2023, students with an eye on coming to COS will have a good chance to find a place to live. The college started a process in September to build additional residences. 

Memorial trees planted at College of the Siskiyous in Weed are from seeds that survived the Oklahoma City Bombing

The lodges, as they are called at COS, would include beds for an additional 396 students. The COS Board of Trustees approved a contract with the student housing development company, Servitas, LLC, two months ago to build the large residence hall. 

The trustees reviewed the progress Servitas has made on design ideas during last Tuesday’s December 15 board meeting, They also agreed to continue the process with the company, which they may terminate at one of four exit points between now and March 2021.

But in March, if financing is secured and plans are completed and approved by the board, Servitas will submit design and construction documents to California’s Division of State Architects for approval and permitting. It is estimated the new dorms would be available to students by 2023.

COS’ two existing residences were built when the college was constructed 52 years ago. The new rooms would offer several upgrades that students in 1968 would  not have imagined.

The new housing will include amenities such as wifi connectivity for games ,among other things, on personal devices; kitchenettes in most apartments and a large community kitchen, said to Veronica Rivera, director of facilities.

“The residences will consist of two-bedroom suites, rather than single rooms off a center hall. Suites will have a living area, kitchenette, bathroom and shower, and two bedrooms, each with two beds,” Rivera said in an interview. 

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“The central community area will have open areas for socializing. There will be a large laundry room, and residents will have an app to  check on availability of washing machines from their room. The building will be secure, residents will use a key card to enter,” Rivera said.

The new residence building is planned to extend from current lodges toward the football stadium. Rooms will overlook the forest trails at the base of a wooded hill on the edge of the campus area, as well as the football and soccer fields. 

Financing will likely come “through the issuance of tax-exempt bonds,”  Schoonmaker said in an email. “The District is not required to pay anything for the design and construction of the housing, he said. Money raised by bonds would not be funded by local taxpayers, Schoonmaker added.