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Cal State Long Beach will soon begin work on bringing nearly 500 new beds to its campus housing.

A new student dormitory building at the corner of Atherton Street and Earl Warren Drive will break ground in July and is slated to finish in May 2021, university administrators said at a community meeting on Wednesday evening, May 29. Plans for the additional housing have been in the works for nearly 15 years, but at the meeting, officials shared renderings of the building and constructions plans with about 20 community members at the nearby Los Altos Neighborhood Library.

It’s the first new student housing on campus in more than 30 years, said Mark Zakhour, the university’s director of Design and Construction Services.

“This is a long time coming,” he said. “We have housing that is really old, so we need to start updating and replacing our housing.”

The building, called Parkside North Housing, will have 476 beds.

But the added beds won’t make much of a difference for a while.

“When we put this up, this will replace a lot of beds we’ll be taking out for the next 10 to 15 years,” Zakhour said. “So, although this project brings new beds to the campus, it won’t necessarily increase our bed count at all for the next 10-plus years as we have aggressive renovation for the rest of our housing.”

The Hillside College dorms — just south of the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden, on Earl Warren Drive — will receive the first renovation in the long-range plan, he added.

But that work won’t begin until Parkside North Housing, a $102 million project, is finished.

The building, shaped like the numeral eight, will be three stories tall along Atherton Street and four stories on the side facing toward the center of campus. It will have two outside courtyards.

The design, Zakhour said, was made to negate any unwanted noise for neighbors across the road from Atherton Street and the different heights of the building also aim to give Los Altos residents more privacy.

But some nearby neighbors of the new building still weren’t happy. A handful of residents expressed concerns about parking on neighborhood streets and students being able to peek at their homes from the upper floors of the dorms.

“I put a lot of money in our home,” said Camilla Richter, who lives directly across the street from the planned building. “It’s one of the most beautiful in the area and I’m just sick about this coming.”

University officials said they are continuing to reassess at their plans with the community’s suggestions.

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, Michele Cesca, vice president for University Relations and Development, said the campus will start to break ground on the Anna W. Ngai Alumni and Visitor Center on Sept. 28, the university’s Founders Day. The center, meant to bring students and alumni together for career development, networking and mentoring opportunities, will cost $8 million.

The 6,000-square-foot Alumni and Visitor Center, Cesca said, will replace the Soroptimist House, built in 1957. The building, in the middle of campus on Beach Drive, was initially used by student organizations — and now hosts various events.

“We think it’s really appropriate to bring people back to the heart of campus,” Cesca said. “And is just a great opportunity to tell people, ‘This is where you started your student career and journey, now you’re being welcomed back.’”

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