A British university has a new home for a graduate school in downtown Roseville, the first of two campuses it plans in Placer County.
The Roseville City Council voted unanimously Wednesday night to sell a downtown fire station at 401 Oak St. to the University of Warwick for $190,000. The two-story, 42,000 square foot building is expected to hold as many as 450 students and is expected to open for classes in September 2018.
Warwick also plans to build an undergraduate campus on 600 acres of donated land in unincorporated Placer County west of Roseville. That much larger project is expected to follow the opening of the graduate school, as Warwick needs to obtain environmental approvals from the federal government to build on the land and receive permission to teach courses from education agencies.
Warwick is the third institution brought in by a group led by the Tsakopoulos family to build a school as part of a residential and commercial project on the Placer County land, which includes another 559 acres for a planned residential community. Proceeds from the residential and commercial development would fund construction of the school, said project spokesman Bill Halldin.
Previously, the Christian Brothers order and Drexel University backed out of plans to build campuses on the land, with the latter also closing a downtown Sacramento graduate school that was going to be part of a dual-campus school.
Members of the foundation expect a different outcome this time. The foundation was created to own the land donated by developer Angelo K. Tsakopoulos and his partners.
“With Warrick, we have found the right match,” Kyriakos Tsakopoulos, son of Angelo K. Tsakopoulos and president of the foundation, said in a written statement.
Roseville council members praised Warwick and the development foundation, saying the graduate school would help revitalize downtown and increase higher education options for residents.
“I’d like to thank you guys for believing in Roseville,” said Councilman Scott Alvord.
In an interview prior to the council meeting, Bob Hogg, the university’s business development director, said the foundation’s offer to build the campus brought Warwick to Placer County. But the school also believes Northern California has a great opportunity for more high quality colleges, he said.
Warwick runs a graduate business school in London while its main campus is in Coventry. QS World University Rankings calls the University of Warwick the 51st best school, in a list that includes Stanford University as number 2 and UC Davis at 85.
Over the next year, officials from the University of Warwick will hold a series of meetings in Placer County to find out what residents want in the school, including sports, arts and classes, Hogg said.
The graduate school will initially offer classes targeted to specific businesses as it goes through the process of accreditation, and within a couple of years should be offering courses to the public, he said.
The university plans to hold an architectural competition for the design of the undergraduate campus, Hogg said, adding that construction on the undergraduate school could begin as early as 2021.