Campus, News

New residence hall tackling on-campus housing demand

By: Sydney Woodley and Jason Garcia

La Playa Hall is set to play a pivotal role in meeting the increasing student demand for on-campus housing. Mayor Rex Richardson, Housing Executive Director Corry Colonna and CSULB President Jane Close Conoley discuss the housing challenges and the impact of the new residence hall.

At the groundbreaking ceremony held on March 28, CSULB began the first steps for the construction of the La Playa Resident Hall. The affordable housing building is connected by bridges designed to alleviate the financial strain of housing for students.

The monthly price per student to live in La Playa would be around $700, with low-income students being the priority to house.

As the cost of tuition continues to soar, one of the most pressing concerns facing students is the affordability of on and off-campus housing. For many, the decision to live on-campus or off-campus is crucial and can impact their college experience.

“When you look at the students who live on campus, they tend to have higher GPAs. They tend to graduate faster. They join more clubs. They get more involved,” Conoley said. “They’re able to go to athletic games because they can just walk out their door.”

Housing capacity continues to become an issue each year, with an increase on those on the waitlist in the past seven years.

In 2017, there were 111 students on the waitlist compared to recent data from 2023, with just over 2,000 students on the housing waitlist. Conoley reflected on the shift in preference, highlighting CSULB’s potential evolution from a commuter college to a residential campus.

“As we fixed up the dorms and they were nice and provided more services, now we see that students want to stay there,” Conoley said.

President Conoley speaking at the ceremony for the construction of La Playa Hall on Thursday, March 28.
President Conoley speaking at the ceremony for the construction of La Playa Hall on Thursday, March 28. Photo credit: Jason Garcia

The average monthly rent of a one-bedroom apartment in Long Beach costs about $1,700, not including utilities and additional expenses. On-campus rates can be up to $2,232 per month for one semester without having to pay for utilities – this does not include the mandatory meal plan price. In addition, the cost of on-campus living varies on the room type, such as a single, double or triple.

La Playa Residential Hall hopes to serve as one piece of the puzzle to expand affordable housing. Colonna said that 404 beds will be affordable because of the financial aid that will cover them. Within the affordable plan, the cost of living will cater per student depending on financial need.

Many officials and administrators, including the Long Beach Mayor of Rex Richardson expressed their optimism for the future residential hall at the groundbreaking ceremony.

“This is a project with more than 400 units. That’s 400 opportunities to give young people who are coming to Long Beach or even from Long Beach, who are really at a pivotal point in their lives where they’re charting their future. It gives them some economic security.” Richardson said. “They can grow and develop and figure out their identities without worrying about a roof over their heads.”

La Playa is set to open fall 2026.

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