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UC Santa Cruz confirms Camper Park closes, students respond

SANTA CRUZ, Calif (KION-TV) -- UC Santa Cruz confirmed on Wednesday that due to significant health and safety concerns, the university is shutting down a low-cost housing option for students for good.

UCSC said the decision came after an "extensive safety and sustainability review process" and after hearing input from the Fire Marshal's office, Environmental Health and Safety and Campus Housing.

UCSC said Camper Park residents were also involved in talks with staff during the spring quarter.

The university said student housing team members are in the process of reaching out to students who expressed interest in living in Camper Park during the upcoming academic year to provide support and assistance.

The future of UC Santa Cruz's Camper Park housing facility remains in limbo for next academic year

The future of an affordable housing option on UC Santa Cruz’s campus, remains in limbo. The school is still trying to figure out if the 41-unit Camper Park will continue to be available for student housing beyond the Spring 2024 quarter.

“It is really one of the very few affordable housing options left in all of Santa Cruz and on campus," Camper Park resident Serena Dern said. "A goal that we have is to be able to have 14 students that are returnees live here in the fall next year while we figure out what changes need to be made to camper park in order to be more sustainable”

In a statement to KION Monday, UC Santa Cruz said:

"We do not have any plans for Camper Park at this time. We are in a period of review and evaluation of the park with the intent of determining the sustainability of this facility as student housing. EH&S [Environmental Health & Safety, Fire, and Housing] are all participating in this. Student representatives from the Camper Park will be providing input with their thoughts on perspectives on the park so that those can be considered as part of the evaluation."

Students at the park say, the area hasn’t been receiving the attention it needs and call for a reallocation of funds from the school. The unknown future of the site, also leaving students there worried about where to live next academic year.

“Now, last minute, we are looking for housing, that is not only incredibly stressful, that's also not realistic for a lot of people to find the level of affordable affordability that we would be receiving here," Camper Park resident Bella Mann said.

For the dozens of students currently housed, they say camper park is more than just a place to live.

“It's like student autonomous students serving and it's community based. And that kind of living is really special, especially like being in college,” Camper Park resident Natalie Wilegar.

With the spring quarter coming to an end this week, students who currently live here are required to leave by Friday at noon.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Cruz County

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Austin Castro

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