New Graduate Housing Proposed for Escondido Village

For FAQs about this project, please click here.

For suggestions, questions or concerns, please email R&DE at

Stanford Report, January 14, 2016

Escondido Village housing project moves ahead with revisions

After receiving feedback from the campus community, the university is moving ahead with a project that will add 2,000 new graduate student beds to Escondido Village.

By Lisa Lapin and Kate Chesley

Stanford this week will begin the formal application process to pave the way for the university to construct a new 2,400-bed, four-building graduate student residential complex that was first discussed in October.

After several months meeting with members of the graduate student community, Stanford administrators have determined the project site within Escondido Village, as well as its height and density.

"We listened carefully to the feedback we received from throughout campus and changed the proposal in ways that benefit the project and should ease any concerns people have expressed," said David Lenox, campus architect. "Given how desperately this housing is needed, we are ready to move forward and submit our proposals."

The university plans this week to seek approvals from Santa Clara County to redistribute the remaining housing allowed under its General Use Permit to the Escondido Village location and to add 1,450 additional beds to the permit.

Once designs for the graduate student residential complex are complete, the university would then apply later this year for the project-specific architectural and site approvals needed to actually construct the project. Pending the design process and county approvals, construction could begin as soon as this fall. Construction will take place over three years, with the new housing possibly available for occupancy in fall 2019.

The project site abuts Serra Street and Campus Drive, running between Thoburn Court and Escondido Road. Also eventually planned in that area is an improved intersection for Campus Drive and Serra Street.

The site allows the university to accommodate graduate student families in a cluster of housing units with courtyards on the north side of Escondido Village between Serra Street and Stanford Avenue. Graduate students concerned about housing conducive to family life were among the constituencies that met with administrators during the past three months.

Increasing Stanford's capacity to house more graduate students is a critical university need and has become an urgent priority as rapidly rising rents in the Bay Area have created financial stress for many graduate students. Currently, about 5,700 graduate students live in university-provided housing.

The proposed new buildings will be multistory, ranging from six to 10 stories, similar to current building heights in Escondido Village. They will house primarily single graduate students or couples without children. The complex would replace a number of two-story buildings that now house about 400 students, for a net addition of about 2,000 beds.

Initial design concepts for the buildings include premium studio apartments, two-bedroom apartments and junior studios similar to those now offered in the new Kennedy Graduate Residences complex, also located in Escondido Village. Amenities under consideration include a pub/café/market, exercise spaces, cinema, dance studio, group music practice spaces, study rooms and offices for student housing and graduate life professionals.

Also proposed is the construction of underground parking. Alternate transportation options would also be enhanced for the area, building on a trend among graduate students to own fewer cars. Car sharing, bike spaces and additional Marguerite shuttles are some of the options being explored to serve the new residences.

The university will continue to meet with graduate students and others through the planning and design process to seek feedback on the project.

"We greatly appreciate the amount of time and thought that went into the valuable feedback we received from the graduate community during the initial planning stage of this essential new housing project," said Shirley Everett, senior associate vice provost for Residential & Dining Enterprises. "We look forward to working with graduate students on planning the common space and community amenities, upgrades to the courtyards and play areas, and relocation logistics."

While the construction is underway, the university proposes to relocate affected graduate students. Single students will be relocated to other Stanford housing, and families will be moved to similar clusters of housing within Escondido Village that surround courtyards important to those with children. Some families will move to upgraded housing east of Mirrielees and close to Bing Nursery School, Pepper Tree House and Escondido Elementary School. There, the university plans to create spaces for child play and family community gathering in that area, plant a landscaped buffer, add playground and sandbox equipment and install low fences to separate small yards from streets.

Stanford Report, October 22, 2015

Stanford is in the very early stages of proposing construction of a new residential complex that would provide housing for more than 2,400 graduate students. If eventually approved, the complex would be located off Serra Street between El Camino Real and Campus Drive.

By Lisa Lapin and Kate Chesley

Thousands of graduate students struggling with the Bay Area's challenging rental market may benefit from a new housing complex proposed for the Serra Street area between Campus Drive and El Camino Real.

In early October, the Board of Trustees first considered the concept for the graduate residences, which – if eventually approved – would house about 2,400 graduate students. The housing would be built in the area of the McFarland, Hoskins, Thoburn and Hulme courts. The new construction would likely be multi-story, although not exceeding current building heights in Escondido Village. The complex would replace a number of two-story buildings that now house about 400 students, for a net addition of about 2,000. Students displaced by the construction would be accommodated elsewhere by the university.

Stanford houses about 55 percent of its more than 9,000 graduate students in on-campus housing. The new residences, if built, could increase that number to at least 75 percent. Even though Stanford houses a higher percentage of graduate students than most of its peer institutions, increasing the percentage of graduate students able to live on campus has long been a university priority.

Critical need

"Increasing our capacity to house more graduate students on campus is a critical need for the university," said Patricia Gumport, vice provost for graduate education. "It has become even more urgent as rapidly rising rents in local communities have contributed to financial stress for many graduate students who are struggling to make ends meet."

Currently, Stanford subsidizes graduate students who are guaranteed on-campus housing, but who have to live off campus because there are not enough on-campus spaces. Those students face a very difficult rental market.

On-campus housing is a primary consideration in attracting graduate students to Stanford and ensuring their success.

"We want to continue to recruit the very best talent to Stanford, and many prospective grad students tell us it is a high priority to live on campus or nearby," Gumport said. "Living on campus enhances the quality of their educational experiences by providing close proximity to an abundance of resources for their advanced study and research, especially for the many students who work late into the night and on weekends. Living on campus also fosters community that is essential to their well-being."

The new residences could also help ease the demand for rental units in Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, Mountain View, Sunnyvale and Menlo Park, where many students who cannot be accommodated on campus live.

"A significant addition of housing on the Stanford campus will mean the availability of more rental inventory in the community," said Catherine Palter, associate vice president for land use and environmental planning. "In this extremely tight housing market, with such high demand, it would provide some assistance to our neighboring communities."

Gumport said that the new housing could open up space in the surrounding communities that may be suitable for postdoctoral scholars, who also face considerable financial pressures at a critical time in their lives. To help address their financial needs, Gumport said the university recently raised the minimum salary for postdoctoral scholars and established a fund for those who face financial challenges.

"This project is a genuinely transformative investment for Stanford," she said. "Among its many benefits, it will also reduce the cost and time spent commuting, as more members of our community can be housed on campus and live closer to the campus."

Early concepts

Initial design concepts would encompass 1.6 million to 1.8 million gross square feet spread among a number of buildings. The very early concept for the new housing includes premium studio apartments, two-bedroom apartments and junior studios similar to those now offered in the new Kennedy Graduate Housing complex, also located in Escondido Village.

"This is a marvelous opportunity to work with the graduate student community on an attractive housing complex that fosters cross-disciplinary engagement and promotes community, social interaction, fitness, recreation and overall well-being," said Shirley Everett, senior associate vice provost for Residential & Dining Enterprises. "We envision a vibrant community for graduate residents living in Escondido Village. We want to hear what options graduate students value and look forward to exploring the possibilities with them."

Amenities under consideration could include a pub/café/market, exercise spaces, a cinema, dance studio, group music practice spaces, study rooms and offices for graduate life professionals. Everett said she looks forward to working collaboratively with graduate students in meeting their housing needs.

Also proposed is the construction of underground parking. Alternate transportation options would also be enhanced for the area, building on a trend among graduate students to own fewer cars. Car sharing, bike spaces and additional Marguerite shuttles are some of the options being explored to serve the new residences.

Meetings to gather feedback on the proposal will be scheduled with graduate students and members of nearby communities, including the College Terrace and Evergreen Park neighborhoods. The university is also preparing an alternative housing plan for the students who would be temporarily displaced should the construction be approved.

The university hopes to finalize proposed plans for the housing in the coming months, but recognizes that the approval process will involve multiple campus constituencies and government entities.

Frequently Asked Questions

* -- denotes new or updated information as of 1/20/2016

Residential & Dining Enterprises (R&DE); Land, Buildings and Real Estate; and the Graduate Life Office continue the process of gathering feedback and input on the project. We have begun a series of meetings which will continue over the coming weeks and months.

If you prefer to share your concerns and suggestions in writing, contact R&DE at

Approval Process

Project Details

Student Residents


Next Steps

 *What is the status of the proposed new graduate housing project?

The university is moving ahead with the project and has begun the formal application process to seek the necessary approvals from Santa Clara County.  Read the latest Stanford Report story about the project here.

Who in the University is responsible for this project?

This project is a collaboration of a number of University entities, including Residential & Dining Enterprises; Land, Buildings and Real Estate; and the Graduate Life Office.

Why is this project necessary?

Given the high cost of rents in communities around Stanford, we must provide better housing options to support quality of life for current graduate students at Stanford, and to allow the University to continue to attract the best students from around the world.

Today, Stanford only houses about 55 percent of the more than 9,000 graduate students in on-campus housing. The new residences, if built, could increase that number to at least 75 percent.

Approval Process

*Is this development subject to Stanford's General Use Permit?

Yes. The university will soon submit an application to the county to increase the number of housing units that can be constructed under the 2000 General Use Permit. The 2000 GUP anticipated that additional housing might be needed and contains provisions for making a request to add units. The university’s remaining allowance for housing units is about 580 housing units. So we are applying to the county for permission to build an additional 1,450 housing units. Stanford is required to comply with all of the 2000 GUP conditions of approval and mitigation measures, including submission of a traffic study. Stanford also will seek Architectural and Site Approval for the project once it has been more fully designed.

Project Details

*Where on campus will the new graduate housing complex be located?

The complex, if approved, will be constructed in Escondido Village, along Serra Street and Campus Drive, between Thoburn Court and Escondido Road.

How many students will the new complex accommodate?

If approved, the new complex will house about 2,400 students, replacing approximately 400 bed spaces in lower density housing units with higher density housing (for a net 2,000 additional new bed spaces), meeting a critical need for on campus housing.

*How tall will the buildings be?

It’s too early in the process to say definitively, but the new buildings will likely be multi-story, ranging from six to 10 stories, similar to current building heights in Escondido Village.

*How would the new complex, if approved, affect traffic?

Completion of the new complex will allow us to relocate students living off campus to on-campus housing, so the effect should be positive by reducing the peak commute trips that are currently occurring. A traffic study will be submitted to the County as part of the approval process for this project.

*Will this new development be denser than projects in the past?

Yes, but projects such as the Munger Graduate Residence prove that you can have very desirable housing—even if it is denser—through careful planning, amenities, balancing open space and building, and designing with an architectural palette of materials. It’s important to remember that Stanford must be a good steward of its land, especially to allow for the academic development it needs to accomplish its mission of teaching, research and learning.

*Why can’t the new housing be built in the area of the current Golf Driving Range behind Governor’s Corner; or in the area between Serra Street and Bonair Siding, in the area of Quarry Road; or elsewhere in Escondido Village that would not affect family courtyards?

Although the Stanford Campus is 8,000+ acres, only a small portion of this land is available for development. Within the available footprint, the University must address priorities of academics and research, undergraduate and graduate student housing, and faculty housing. Because of the limited space, the University looks to create more compact density, which this project would achieve.

Under the long range campus plan, the Driving Range, the sites on Quarry Road, and Bonair Siding locations are earmarked for purposes other than graduate housing. There is not sufficient space elsewhere within EV for a development of this magnitude. Since there is more family housing than needed, it makes sense to replace some of these family-style units with critically needed housing for single students and couples. This site is centrally located in EV, which provides an opportunity to create robust amenities that will be available for all Village residents. In addition, it is the least dense section of the Village and therefore requires the least overall loss of apartments and bed spaces. Constructing the project on this site will significantly address a critical need for on-campus housing by providing an additional 2,000 graduate student bed spaces, for a 40% increase in total number of graduates housed on campus.

What kinds of amenities and services would be offered as part of the new complex?

The list of possible amenities is still being developed and we are seeking input from graduate students about the amenities that will be most useful for them. Among the amenities that have been suggested are a pub/café/market, a cinema, dance/yoga studios, group music practice spaces, community rooms with kitchens, and study (“huddle”) rooms targeted to graduate students living in EV. Some of those amenities may be open to the broader Stanford community.

*Will the new units have air conditioning?


What will the monthly rates be?

The housing rates will be consistent with the rate levels for other recently constructed on-campus graduate housing.

When will construction begin and when will it be completed?

There are a number of steps to be completed before a construction start date can be established. However, completion is anticipated by summer of 2019.

Student Residents

Who will live in the new complex?

Residents will be single graduate students and couples, with first priority going to those single graduate students displaced due to the construction. The project will not house any families. Families will continue to be accommodated in the Escondido Village family courtyards.

*Will Stanford increase the number of graduate students it enrolls as a result of this new housing?

That's not the intent of the project. The intent is to bring some of the more than 4,000 graduate student who live off campus back on campus.

*How can I sign up?

It's too early in the process to being accepting applications for the new housing. The complex will be subject to considerable on-campus and off-campus reviews and approvals. It will likely be years before the complex is ready for occupancy. That said, priority for housing will be considered for the graduate students affected by the relocations from the demolitions.

Will the students currently living in the units to be demolished be guaranteed other housing?            

Yes. There will be ample apartments available for displaced families to remain in Escondido Village family courtyards.  Single students will be relocated during the project to other single, renewable student housing throughout the system (both on- and off-campus housing).

Will graduate student families lose housing to make way for the new complex?

The demolition will require the relocation of some families within Escondido Village, but no eligible families will lose housing or be moved off campus as a result of this project.

For the families (and single students) that will need to relocate to make way for the construction, R&DE Student Housing will provide boxes for packing and moving service at no cost to residents.

Families have priority for on-campus housing. Once they elect to move off campus, they lose their housing guaranteed status. If they later wish to move back on campus, they must apply through the housing lottery along with all other graduate students. Many are granted on-campus housing every year.

Will the project result in the loss of some of the family courtyards?

Currently, 260 families live in 10 family courtyard housing areas (201 living in 2 bedroom apartments and 59 in 3 bedroom apartments). The remaining 59 2-bedroom and 53 3-bedroom units are assigned to single students, based on the current housing demand for families.

Single students who are currently living in family courtyard housing will be relocated to single graduate student housing locations. This will make way for families affected by the project to be relocated to other family courtyards. All affected single students will be guaranteed housing on campus or in off-campus subsidized housing.

In addition, 88 family apartments with courtyards in Escondido South will be reconverted back their original family courtyard housing configuration, as needed based on future demand.

*Will there be sufficient family housing to meet demand after the demolition required for this project?

Yes. Families today live in one of 10 family courtyard residences in Escondido Village (Abrams A and B, Barnes A and B, Hulme A and B, Thoburn, Hoskins, McFarland and Jenkins). In addition, two other courtyards – Blackwelder and Escondido South –were originally built for families, but do not currently have families assigned. 

These twelve courtyards combined represent 514 apartments. There are currently 260 families in Escondido Village. The new housing project will require the demolition of 184 apartments (Hoskins, McFarland, Jenkins and Blackwelder courtyards) leaving 330 apartments. As part of this plan, Escondido South will be improved this summer with two enclosed courtyards and enclosed sideyards. In the future, families could also be housed in a newly created Dudley Lane courtyard, for a total of 348 available family courtyard apartments.

This is 8% more than the highest number of families assigned in over a decade and nearly 35% more than assignments in the last eight years.

*Will the new housing be available to postdocs?

We hope the project will provide relief to post-doctoral students, whether they are able to live on campus based on the priority levels for on-campus housing or whether they are able to take advantage of space vacated by graduate students moving on campus from off-campus apartments.

*Will children's play areas be lost during the process and will they be replaced elsewhere?

Yes, but the university hopes to create new spaces for child play and bike riding, plant a landscaped buffer, add playground and sandbox equipment and install low fences to separate small yards from streets.

If I am currently living in Stanford housing off campus, will I have a priority for housing in the new housing complex?

This is still under discussion.


*How will construction noise and dust be managed?

All construction on the Stanford campus must comply with state and local regulations, including measures to avoid construction dust. There would be, for instance, no construction during evening hours. Normal construction hours would be Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The measures would be similar to those instituted for the Kennedy Graduate Residences.

We recognize that noise can be a particular challenge, so our plan is to provide residents with information about the anticipated noise levels and locations, as well as information about how to contextualize those noise levels. We are working with a noise specialist to evaluate construction activities. That involves using detailed calculations for both buildings and courtyards, based on data from the Federal Highway Administration. Preliminary studies suggest that the construction noise from this project will not reach levels where hearing loss or damage need be a concern. That said, Stanford intends to be proactive in reducing noise during construction. For instance, the university plans to use precast construction technology and—where possible—line power rather than generators.

A website will be created to keep the community appraised of construction and impacts. As part of the website, there will be a link, email and phone line to collect and answer questions and concerns.

*How will Stanford address other health risks associated with construction?

Stanford is doing its due diligence to make sure residents of EV, including families, will be protected during demolition and construction. For instance, the university is working with Ramboll Environ to conduct a health risk assessment that assesses risks from exposure to exhaust from construction equipment. The assessments use conservative assumptions and health-protective standards set by local and state agencies. Preliminary results show that potential risks in the surrounding community, including for children, would be far below these health-protective standards. It also bears noting that a significant portion of the off-road mobile construction equipment we plan to use will be equipped with Tier 4 emissions control. That’s the most stringent emissions standard currently available.

In addition, Stanford’s Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) will be involved in the demolition of the buildings. They have expertise in managing asbestos and lead-based paint abatement.  Local, state and federal regulations require compliance with strict protocols pertaining to lead-based paint and asbestos. The protocols are designed to protect both onsite workers and nearby residents. EH&S is well-versed in compliance with those regulations.

Will children’s play areas be lost during the process, and will they be replaced elsewhere?

Many play areas will still remain, and we will be discussing replacement play areas with the graduate community. This is an important priority that we will discuss with affected graduate student families.

*Will there be replacement parking during the demolition/construction?

We don't anticipate that replacement parking will be necessary. There is ample capacity in nearby parking facilities.

Next Steps

What are the next steps in Stanford’s process and for community involvement?

As we share news of the proposed plans, Stanford will be listening to community comments as to what elements should be considered. We will continue outreach and share project details with the community.

*How can I get involved in this process?

We want to engage students in making important decisions about the proposed new housing, including identifying the amenities that will best support the quality of their educational experiences in close proximity to an abundance of resources for their advanced study and research and fosters a vibrant community. We also want to maintain open communication as we address transition plans such as timetables and relocation efforts.

There are several ways you can make your voice heard:

  • In the next few weeks we will begin a series of community meetings to brief you on next steps, gather your input and address your concerns. Based on feedback received, these meetings will be smaller than a town hall meeting, and held in a variety of locations, to help ensure all student perspectives are heard. We will be sending announcements to all graduate students to alert you to opportunities for briefings and feedback on many aspects needing student input.
  • Also, we have added a question about the new graduate housing project to the annual housing survey. We encourage you to complete the survey and share your ideas with us.
  • And for those who are unable to attend a meeting or who prefer to share their thoughts in writing, please email R&DE


Please continue to refer to our website, where we will update information as appropriate.

Thank you again for your ongoing commitment to engage in dialogue with us.