Construction has not yet begun in the area of UCI between Arroyo Drive and Culver Drive. A small leasing office is set up inside a trailer on the empty property.
However, Vista Del Campo, UC Irvine’s newest housing community which opens summer 2004, is already generating interest among undergraduates looking for a new and different place to live next year.
Vista Del Campo will house approximately 1,200 undergraduates in addition to about 250 graduate students when the first phase opens next fall. Offering only individual leases, students will get and be responsible only for their own rooms.
A mix between traditional on-campus communities and off-campus apartments, Vista Del Campo apartments will be fully furnished and come ready with cable and Internet access. Utilities are included in the rent, and students will pay extra only if they exceed their monthly electricity allowance.
Unlike students in other on-campus communities, residents will not have to pay to park their cars in Vista Del Campo parking lots. There will be parking spaces for 75 percent of the residents.
‘Parking will be first come, first serve,’ said Dennis McCauliff, director of housing operations for Vista Del Campo. ‘We won’t charge extra for it, but we will require a permit.’
These permits will not be valid anywhere else on campus.
‘ASUCI will be adding at least two or three more shuttle routes just to Vista Del Campo and we’re hoping to have it run every 20 minutes,’ said Ashley Solis, vice president of administrative affairs for ASUCI and a fourth-year psychology and sociology major.
This alternative to the more traditional apartment typically found in the Irvine community is a response to the needs of students and will be managed by a private company, American Campus Communities.
‘[American Campus Communities] took into consideration that people wanted their own room and privacy. They wanted to make sure that each apartment would be affordable for a student to have a single bedroom that was comfortable [and] convenient,’ Solis said. ‘The prices for Vista Del Campo are [also] about 10 percent less per room than Irvine Apartment Community apartments across the street.’
Many students are signing leases for the upcoming year and planning to move from their current residences in IAC-owned apartments next to campus.
‘We are filling up very quickly,’ McCauliff said. ‘[But] I don’t look upon IAC as competition. The only similarity that we share is that we provide housing for students. They’re an alternative, but we don’t see them as a competitor.’
First-year ICS major Neil Javalla currently lives in Mesa Court and is planning to live in Vista Del Campo next year.
‘We checked out other apartments. But we like living with other UCI students and I want a single room that is not too expensive,’ Javalla said.
Second-year criminology, law and society major Selena Ho currently lives in Berkeley Court and has already put a down payment and reserved a room for next year.
‘The rent price includes utilities and the apartments even include furnishings,’ Ho said. ‘Each lease is per person so you don’t have to worry about losing your apartment if one person forgets to pay.’
However, the major drawback from Vista Del Campo is its individual lease policy. Monthly rents will range from $560 a month for a four-bedroom apartment to $881 for a one-bedroom apartment, and students on tight budgets will not be able to share a room to lower costs.
Second-year undecided major Andrew Hong lives in Dartmouth Court and plans on continuing to live there.
‘It is really close to campus,’ Hong said. ‘It’s actually closer than some on-campus housing. The apartment is really spacious and there are nice neighbors all around. I share my room so it’s really affordable.’
For the students who are willing to pay a little extra to have their own room, Vista Del Campo could prove to be a good alternative.
‘This is going to be a project unlike any other in the nation,’ McCauliff said.