SDSU housing holds history in its walls

by Ana Ceballos

With a history dating back to the 1960s, SDSU housing hasn’t always been what it is today.  Antonio Zaragoza, Photo Editor
With a history dating back to the 1960s, SDSU housing hasn’t always been what it is today. Antonio Zaragoza, Photo Editor

Imagine living in the 1960s. Now imagine experiencing college during the ‘60s while living in the first on-campus dormitory, Zura Hall.

When San Diego State first opened its residence halls, student life was tightly controlled. Though weekends were slightly more flexible, women living on campus had a curfew of 10:30 p.m. on weeknights, offering a stark contrast to the non-existent curfew and bed checks of the residence halls today.

The school also utilized innovative elevators designed to stop at every other floor to keep males and females from bumping into each other in their gender-separated halls. During the ‘70s every residence hall had this service.

Aside from being separated by sex, additional regulations included a strict dress codes reminding men that “T-shirts and bare feet are never considered suitable attire” while women were not allowed to wear bathrobes in public rooms.

Although SDSU was founded in 1897, its first step toward the residence halls students occupy today was taken forty years later in 1937, when the school’s first off-campus residence hall opened. Quetzal Hall accommodated 40 female students who were automatically given representation on the Associated Women Students council.

However, by the late ‘70s, enrollment had reached 30,000 and a lack of housing became problematic. This led to the building of Tenochca Hall in 1981, which opened an additional 2,000 rooms for student housing.

Because of a lack space in the ‘80s, SDSU established a lottery system that divvied remaining housing among students who had already completed their freshman year. This system continued until 1990, leading the university to establish a housing referral center that ran public announcements with local press outlets, pointing out the school’s desperate need for student housing.

Public announcements inspired the community and gave the university an opportunity to expand by collaborating with privately run facilities that worked to arrange future housing for students.

More luxurious options have been developed in the past several years, starting with Cuicacalli Suites in 2001. Now, spacious living arrangements include amenities such as a membership to the Aztec Recreation Center, cable and Internet connections, maintenance and laundry facilities.

The Dining Room at Cuicacalli Suites, which also opened in 2001, is considered another major upgrade in SDSU housing history, offering SDSU students more on-campus meal options.

Current total residence hall costs for the 2012-13 school year range from $12,209 to $13,377 for a single-occupancy room and $10,249 to $11,417 for a double or small single-occupancy room.

According to the Campus Master Plan, which was last updated in 2007, there are no future plans for campus housing. There are also no proposed plans to upgrading existing residence hall structures.