Polytechnic plans propel need for more housing

Update on the allocation of large, one-time state funding of $433 million.

On Sept. 1, HSU announced that President Tom Jackson submitted the final draft of the prospectus to Chancellor Castro that resulted from the self-study that the university went through in Spring 2021 for the possibility of becoming a polytechnic institution.

Governor Newsom signed a budget in July authorizing Humboldt State with $433 million of one-time funding and $25 million in ongoing funding. Since then, many within the university’s community have questioned where exactly this money will be allocated.

University provost Jenn Capps and Deputy Chief of Staff Lisa Bond-Maupin held a Polytechnic Self Study session on Aug. 26 where they answered questions about the large grant of money given to HSU.

“This [Polytechnic Prospectus] is, again, a living document and can be updated and changed as we go and as we go into planning,” Bond-Maupin said.

They said that it is important to make sure that the allocated money is used for the best and most optimal purposes, but also fits into what HSU is about. Bond-Maupin also said that many of the community’s concerns point to some of the challenges that they are facing with the prospectus, but some are a matter of perception. They said that one concern that is part of this reality is the accessibility of housing for students, as well as faculty and staff.

“That is one of the things that keeps me up at night, how to create a space for faculty and staff to live and work, as well as our students,” Capps said.

They pointed out that the lack of housing for the campus community was one concern that really hit home for the Chancellor and the Governor. Capps said that the reason for the gigantic $433 million was to primarily support and fast-trac accessible housing for students.

In the prospectus, one of the challenges that the university presented is that of the local community not being able to grow at a pace to support the institution’s aspirations and growth.

Grant Scott-Goforth, HSU’s communications specialist, said that President Tom Jackson and the surrounding community are consistently working together to envision the progression that will have to come as the university seeks a polytechnic designation.

“The university leadership and city leadership teams meet frequently and this is part of an ongoing dialogue,” Scott-Goforth said. “Both groups know the importance of providing safe and accessible housing options both on and off campus.”

The 143 page prospectus that was made available to the public shows that housing is in the early planning stages. The document said that, with the infusion of the money given from the state, HSU can expect to see a 50% increase in enrollment within the next three years and a 100% increase within seven years.

During the session when asked about housing, Bond-Maupin ensured that President Tom Jackson is putting accessible housing on the forefront of his agenda within the next several years.

“Working with President Jackson, I can say that this [accessible housing] is his number one concern apart from all the other things that he cares about,” Bond-Maupin said.

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