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William Jessup to build $25M student housing

First major expansion since 2004
By: Michael Althouse, The Placer Herald
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William Jessup University held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for a new $25 million, 192-bed student housing center. The first of three such student apartment buildings, it marks the first major expansion since moving to its 128 acre Rocklin campus in 2004. The new building will more than double the schools current on-campus student population with enough capacity to house more than 300 students, said Joe Womak, the university’s vice president of advancement. “Our desire is to be a residential campus,” Womak said. “We have about 130 acres and we’re only utilizing about 30 acres. We have a lot of room to grow,” he said. “At full build-out, we hope to have about 3,200 students living on campus with about 5,000 students total,” Womak said. With current enrollment of about 1,800 there is not enough room for all students who wish to live on campus. The new on campus housing units are “apartment” style, with four rooms surrounding a common living area, Womak said. “We want to provide juniors and seniors with a transitional setting. Right now, we just don’t have room. We have to send our juniors and seniors off campus,” he said, adding, “When you do that, you lose the more experienced and mature part of the campus community.” Rocklin Mayor Brett Storey, who was an invited speaker at the ceremony, said the university “has been a good community member.” The students have to go out into the community and do community service,” he said. “And it’s noticed.” Having a four-year residential university in the city helps to build a stronger community, Storey said. Rocklin Unified School District President Steve Paul said having “William Jessup in our community is a great asset.” “The expansion tells you that they are becoming more and more successful,” Paul said. “Having a top-notch university is great for our town.” Rocklin Vice Mayor Peter Hill said the groundbreaking signifies the “maturing of the university.” William Jessup University became the Sacramento area’s first private, four-year residential university in 2004, when university leaders moved the 69-year-old school from San Jose to Rocklin to accommodate growth.