Imagine your ideal college living space. What would that look like? How much would it cost? Should there be recreational facilities? Would the surrounding community matter? These are all questions to consider when deciding how you want to live while obtaining your collegiate degree. At Sierra College’s Rocklin Campus there are a variety of housing options you can choose from. Whether it be on-campus, in the dorms, or off-campus, in nearby apartment complexes such as Rocklin Manor or Sierra Gateway.
Yes! We Have Dorms
In the state of California, there are only 12 out of 116 community colleges that offer dorms for their students. Sierra College is among the small group that provides this resource. Yet, housing is still an ongoing issue at its Rocklin location. Every year, 100-200 students are left homeless because of the area’s high cost of living. In 1968, the dorms were built to solve this problem.
The Sierra College dormitory first opened its doors at the start of 1969’s fall semester. It is located in Building Z on the southwest end of campus. The cost of living is $4,000 per semester ($8,000 per academic year), utilities included. The building itself is two stories and houses 121 beds, with two people per room. There are four different halls (two upstairs, two downstairs) run by one residential assistant who has their own personal room.
On the bottom level of the building you will find the dorm coordinator’s offices and “The Box”- a student-led residential help desk. You will also find the recreational room where many student-residents go to hang out with friends, do homework, and cook. The facility includes a TV, a ping-pong table, a pool table, a study room, and a small kitchen. Each floor also has one washer/dryer room, with two washers and two dryers, all of which are card operated.
One of the most useful amenities that the dorm provides is a meal card. Residents are able to use their student ID for the cafeteria and even a small selection of off- campus options. Dorm supervisor, Cortney Magorian, and Student Services Technician, Ryan Goodpastor know all about the perks of on-campus living. They describe their roles, how they aid student-success in the dorms, and why they enjoy what they do.
Magorian says: “The most validating part of my job is when I first meet students coming in the door, not everybody’s outgoing or excited about being in a new environment… so seeing people blossom and feel comfortable to be their true selves, make connections, do well, and move on is the most rewarding.”
Building off of that Goodpastor says: “The most rewarding part of my job is getting to know the residents. Part of it is having an open-door policy. Then supporting what the RA’s (Residential Assistants) do to help them build community as well in terms of buying the supplies they need for events they set up and things like that.”
Keeping the idea of community in mind, students also had a lot to say about the role that the dorms play in their personal lives.
RA, Brian Brooks says: “I honestly wouldn’t be here without the dorms… I would either be at like a 4-year school going majorly in debt, or at the tiny community college near my house.”
For Brooks and many others, on-campus housing was the deciding factor when it came to attending Sierra College in the first place.
Fellow RA, Liz Swoyer explains that she’s had an awesome time living in the dorms. She’s made so many life-long friends, that she can’t believe her final year is coming to an end.
When asked about her favorite aspects of dorm-life, Swoyer says, “The people… I think we always have really friendly people, and getting to meet them is always nice. I think it’s also really convenient to be living on campus because all your classes are right there… and working here is also easier for me.”
Brooks and Swoyer had nothing but positive things to say about the dorms. Not only because it is their job to do so, but also because they think it’s an experience that more students should look into. However, with such limited space, they find it hard to advertise this choice of living. If only more dorms could be built to solve this problem…
There’s a New House in Town
In Fall of 2025, the construction of the new dorms will be finished. In total, the 124,000 square-foot project is estimated to cost $98.3 million. The new form of housing will also be less expensive than the first.
“The cost to students for residence in the new student housing will be approximately $450 per month,” said Sierra College.
This would mean that students would pay roughly around $1,800 per semester, reducing the original cost of living ($2,000 per semester) by $200. In terms of location, the new dorms will be found towards the center of campus right by the Sierra College LRC. It is projected to be three stories and house 358 beds, which is almost triple the amount of the current dorms.
There will be more recreational rooms for resident use as well as resource centers integrated into the new building. Sierra College’s Dean of Equity, Dr. William Syms, shared in an interview that he wants to see more resources in the new dormitory and believes they will positively impact students.
The resource centers you might find walking around campus will now have designated areas within the new dorms. Sierra College student-residents will be able to more easily find everything they need- improving equity across different groups of students.
Reported and Written by Ethan Yamaguchi
This article is one in a set of stories called, “Everybody is Entitled to Equity,” that were supported through the California Humanities “Emerging Journalist Fellowship.” The Fellowship awards up to four student-fellows in Journalism programs at California Community Colleges funding to do community-based journalism. This is the second year that the Sierra College Journalism program has received this significant statewide award. In 2023 at Sierra College, additional support for a fifth fellow was awarded through the Sierra College Foundation.
Any views or findings expressed in the five stories that make up, Everybody is Entitled to Equity, published here on Roundhouse News & Review, do not necessarily represent those of California Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities, or the Sierra College Foundation.