Initiatives & Issues
River Trail Village at Napa Valley College will provide housing for our diverse students, including veterans, single parents, international students, athletes, and more. Having student housing on our campus will allow students to actively engage in meaningful ways with the campus and our community. Students who choose to live on campus generally have better grades and are more likely to graduate than their counterparts who live off campus. The housing will provide a quality, affordable residential community for students and will support college enrollments, as well as college recruitment and retention goals. On-campus student housing will expand NVC's support of our community by providing a local student workforce, reducing traffic and travel to/from campus, and enhancing adjacent city projects.
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The student housing will offer a mix of furnished traditional residence hall rooms with access to shared kitchens and bathrooms, furnished apartments, and unfurnished apartments in various sizes. Common areas will include student gathering areas and study spaces.
The 2015 Campus Master Plan Initial Report, a policy and land use plan, identified several areas of our campus suitable for development of student or employee housing. We have since selected a site at the north end of campus for student housing.
In spring 2019, demand studies demonstrated that there was interest in campus housing among students, employees and faculty. On January 23, 2020, the Napa Valley Community College District Board of Trustees approved moving forward to the pre-development phase of the student housing project. On June 15, 2022, the Board of Trustees authorized moving forward with construction and financing of the student housing project. The developer for the campus housing project is The Martin Group and the architect of record is HPI Architecture, which is also the lead architect of record for both the Orange Coast College and Santa Rosa Junior College student housing projects. We are completing design and development, regulatory approvals and preparation of construction documents. The housing is projected to open in 2024.
The primary goals are to provide opportunities for students to reside in a quality housing community on campus and ease, as much as possible, student housing insecurity. Furthermore, this will support student success and NVC enrollment, as well as recruitment and retention goals. The project is intended to establish a permanent resident population on the campus, reinforcing a destination lifestyle for the college. By surrounding the daytime activity of the college main campus with residential life, the project is intended to promote a main campus that is active, vital and vibrant. This project will also expand NVC's support of its community, both locally and globally, by reducing pressure on local housing, reducing traffic and travel to/from campus, and enhancing adjacent projects such as the Kennedy Park expansion.
The college developed a financing structure in which a nonprofit organization enters into a ground lease for the property and issues tax-exempt bonds to fund the project. This structure is commonly referred to as a public-private partnership. In this structure, all expenses incurred by the college for the project to date and projected forward (including advisory, project management, legal, etc.) are reimbursed to the college when the bonds are sold to investors at financial closing. The developer is responsible for the design and construction of the project, which is paid for from the project budget.
To achieve the lowest rents, the district has committed to fund up to $640,000 per year should there be any shortfall in revenue to cover debt service during the first ten years of the project. This commitment to support the project in its early years is valued by potential investors and will be instrumental in achieving a low cost of capital, which should translate into lower rents. There are three important things to note:
This revenue shortfall only occurs if the project does not achieve the occupancy levels anticipated by the two market and demand studies performed by reputable, national firms focused on student housing. The college’s commitment to support the project expires in 10 years. All money spent by the college to honor this commitment will be reimbursed through available project cash flow. This project is expected to create positive revenue over time that may be used at the discretion of the college to supports its mission.
The projected opening is fall 2024.
The housing will include a residential life program supportive of students’ needs and learning outcomes. This will include on-site campus housing personnel and programming of activities to engage student interaction as well as practices aligned with current health regulations. Management and residence life will be operated by a campus management company and not by internal college departments and staff.
The state of California and the Community Colleges Chancellor's Office has prioritized student housing. Of the state’s 116 campuses, 12 offer housing, with several more projects under development. Student housing ranges from traditional on-campus residence halls with access to shared bathrooms on each floor to apartment-style buildings on or adjacent to campus grounds. Additionally, there are numerous community colleges that are currently in the planning or design stages to bring housing to their campus. For example, Orange Coast College’s on-campus housing recently opened in 2020 and Santa Rosa Junior College’s on-campus housing is scheduled to open in 2023.
Priority will be provided to students with at least six credit hours. The intent is to provide quality, affordable housing with students who are focused on their academic studies to enable the most successful residential life programming and academic outcomes. This balances the reality that many of our students need to work part-time or even full-time jobs.
Management of the campus housing community will work closely with the College to address reports of concerning behavior, alleged policy violations, and/or crimes. Incident reports for matters that occur in the campus housing community will be promptly submitted to the College. Furthermore, the on-site housing personnel, including Resident Advisors (RAs) and full-time managers will receive significant training in de-escalation, conflict resolution, and College resources available for providing referrals.
The increased traffic is projected to be minimal, if at all. It is most likely that the campus will see a decrease in student vehicular traffic, especially during peak hours. This is because students whose only option was to drive to class are now able to walk from River Trail Village.
The business plan/financials (including number of beds) have been supported since 2019 by significant quantitative and qualitative research, financial modeling, and market sounding performed by student housing advisors, underwriters, and construction estimating. Scion Advisory Services (scionadvisory.com) performed a market and demand analysis, and financial analysis, in 2019, that included community outreach, including a campus forum on May 8, 2019. MGT (mgtconsulting.com) performed a market and demand analysis, testing the current unit mix and relative rents.
Market and Demand Analysis Excerpts:
“The demand for new student housing is 448 beds for full-time students only and 942 beds for both part-time and full-time students combined”. MGT (June 24, 2021) Student Housing Market Study
“41% of students indicated interest in taking full-time classes if on-campus student housing was available” Scion Advisory Services (July, 2019) College Housing Market Study
“Most students, faculty and staff believe campus housing is important. Survey results indicate that 80% of students believe campus housing is important in recruiting and retaining NVC students.” Scion Advisory Services (July, 2019) College Housing Market Study
As is standard in residence halls at other institutions, the operator is responsible for enforcing the rules and regulations of the student housing. This includes enforcing state laws regarding not allowing alcohol.
Many of the units have kitchens. Units that do not have kitchens will have access to common kitchens on their floor or an adjacent floor. Additionally, there will be enhanced vending options in the community that will include fresh, healthy food options.
The project will be constructed in accordance with Title 24 and CALGreen standards and will include 12 EV charging stations and solar canopies in the parking lot. (California was the first state in the nation to mandate green building codes.)
The purpose of CALGreen is to improve public health, safety, and general welfare through enhanced design and construction of buildings using concepts which reduce negative impacts and promote those principles, which have a positive environmental impact and encourage sustainable construction practices. CALGreen was adopted to address the five divisions of building construction:
- Planning and design
- Energy efficiency
- Water efficiency and conservation
- Material conservation and resource efficiency
- Environmental quality
There are a number of ways to stay informed:
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