Southwestern college received nearly $1 million in state-awarded planning grants, and the college will begin exploring the possibility of affordable housing for each of its four campuses. 

On Tuesday, Southwestern College (SWC) received an award letter informing the funding would be included in the annual Budget Act. The district applied for the grants through the Higher Education Student Housing Grant Program through Senate Bill 169. 

The bill provides $500 million in the fiscal year  2021-2022.

 The district proposed building the housing on the college-owned property or near its campuses through it's planning grant applications. College officials included in the 2018 Facilities Master Plan a desire to explore student housing options.

College officials have been working closely with National City staff and council members to secure the two parcels across the street from the Higher Education Center at National City, one owned by National City.

According to college officials, the project is in its early design stages, and preliminary estimated would require nearly $96 million. The number of beds included in the final design will depend on the combination of traditional student dormitories and non-traditional housing units to accommodate families.

A parking structure would be included in the plan and student amenities. The site would include a cafe, laundry facilities, health care, child care, multi-use conference rooms, and a basic needs student support service center. 

According to SWC, the auxiliary services would generate funding to help the college maintain facility operations.

In Chula Vista, SWC is considering freeing up space on the existing campus by creating multi-level parking structures, and repurposing the property it owns that formerly housed a city of Chula Vista ambulance service. If selected, the building would be torn down for construction for a project estimated to cost $43 million.

At its San Ysidro campus, the district is looking to repurpose the parking lot across the street from the Higher Education Center to include parking and student housing and additional student services,  a proposal estimated to cost $97-million. 

College officials are proposing a $97-million project at the Higher Education Center at Otay Mesa, to be built on the property currently owned by SWC on Airway Road.

According to the college, the planning grants at each of the locations would help determine the number of student beds or rooms that would be feasible. The college would also explore the possibility of employee housing in each of the projects.

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