As students show up for move-in day at UC Riverside, they are arriving to a campus that –from a housing perspective – is reinvented from the pre-pandemic campus of two Septembers ago.
Two residential communities – Dundee Residence Hall and the North District Apartments – are open for students, significantly alleviating the space crunch UC Riverside has faced since its student population began rocketing in the 2000s. UCR has more than doubled its population of 20 years ago, and is projected to have 35,000 students by 2035.
“Dundee and North District phase one both reflect a new scale of building at UCR as we strive to conserve the land and open space,” said Jacqueline Norman, UCR’s campus architect. “We will be building taller and increasing density as we build in the future.”
For fall 2021, UCR will start the quarter with more than 35% greater housing capacity than in September 2019 – providing beds for 8,790 students compared to 2019’s 6,532, a difference of 2,326. The 2021 figure represents about 34% of UCR’s projected fall 2021 enrollment.
The new North District apartments – two buildings, five and six stories respectively and built on the site of the former Canyon Crest Family Housing – will house 1,506 students, which will make it the largest-capacity housing on campus. The Dundee residential hall, two-seven story buildings built concurrent with the new Glasgow dining facility, will house 820.
“Both building complexes have their own individual architectural expression, but they also express a sense of a neighborhood , incorporating important planning and architectural elements seen elsewhere on campus, which furthers a sense of campus cohesiveness,” Norman said.
Norman said the first phase of the North District project, which ultimately will provide up to 6,000 beds, effectively extends Aberdeen Drive, creating a wide pedestrian mall filled with active spaces. Dundee’s courtyard, she said, “acts like an outdoor living room,” and the complex has upper-level group study spaces with expansive windows that look out upon Box Spring Mountain.
The overwhelming majority of students arriving on campus in the coming days will be moving into UCR residence halls for the first time. For those returning, the logistics of move-in day will be different due to COVID-19 protocols.
“At UC Riverside, we remain committed to the well-being and safety of our students and have implemented several safety measures to mitigate and minimize the risk of infection with the COVID-19 virus,” said UCR Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Brian Haynes. “We are looking forward to meeting and engaging with our students safely this academic year.”
Students have been scheduled to arrive over five days, with an average of 1,500 students per day, beginning Thursday, Sept. 16, through Monday, Sept. 20. Their days will begin in Lot 30, where Student Health Services will conduct “touchless,” self-administered COVID-19 testing.
Even as the student vaccination numbers surpass 90%, UCR’s stated goal , students will have a different move-in experience depending on whether they are vaccinated. Vaccinated, asymptomatic students will be tested one to two times per month. Unvaccinated students are required to take weekly COVID-19 tests and must start their time in residence by being sequestered for seven days.
“Through a lot of concerted efforts and learning on the go, we successfully created a very safe living experience for the several thousand students who stayed with us last year,” said Robert Brumbaugh, senior director of Housing Services. “With the help of many campus partners, we have upsized our approach and built on our experiences to meet the increased residential population this fall. We feel a great sense of responsibility to our residents and the families who have entrusted them to us, and we are looking forward to an exciting fall quarter.”