City of Clovis Approves Memorandum for CHSU Expansion

The Clovis City Council has approved a memorandum of understanding between City of Clovis and CHSU. (California Health Sciences University)

On February 8, City Council voted to approve a memorandum of understanding between the City of Clovis and the California Health Science University (CHSU). 

The memorandum of understanding is for the city to acknowledge and allow CHSU’s plans on developing in the Research and Technology (RT) Park area at Alluvial and Temperance Avenues.

In 2016, the City of Clovis authorized the building of the initial CHSU campus in a 70 acres part of land of the RT Park. In 2020, CHSU decided to expand their campus by purchasing an additional 123 acres of land with a possibility of increasing to 138 acres.

Their plan is to use 61 acres to build educational, administrative, and supporting buildings. 70 acres for faculty and student housing. Lastly, seven acres for a commercial center that will serve the university.

In November of 2020, CHSU presented this concept to the City Council. Councilmembers requested for some sort of rule or wording that would create a bigger tie between the housing development and the university.

This was made so RT Park acreage would not only be used to build another housing development, but that it will actually be used by the university.

President of CHSU, Florence Dunn mentioned the housing for students is in high demand and that faculty housing for the university is needed now.

The project will be built in three phases.

Phase one will utilize 45 acres to construct buildings for students and administration.

Phase two of the project will have student and faculty housing. 70 acres will be for single family and multi-family homes. Approximately 286 apartments, 64 townhouses, and 250 single family homes are planned to be built.

The third phase of the project is to build a future school of medicine and an ancillary commercial center on 23 acres.

The university has put a restrictive covenant that specifies no housing property will be sold without first being offered to a faculty member or the university for a period of 30 days. This covenant will be in perpetuity and cannot be changed without approval of both the city and the university.

Councilmember Bob Whalen asked if there had been any success with such covenants in keeping university housing for faculty and students.

City Attorney Scott Cross responded this was the best option in order to keep the housing tied to the university. He further explained that other universities have used these restrictions before. However, the choice will ultimately be up to the school.

Also in attendance was Darius Assemi, President of Granville Homes, who spoke on behalf of the Assemi Group. He is also a member of the board of trustees for CHSU.

Assemi stated they would make student housing easy such as offering no deposit for an apartment. He also mentioned that the apartments too, will always be offered to CHSU students and faculty first.

Councilmember Lynne Ashbeck commented that the City of Clovis is positioned well with other healthcare entities and that this campus will be a great addition to that.

“We can’t underestimate the impact of the medical neighborhood or corridor developing in that part of Clovis.” Ashbeck said.

She also mentioned to the other councilmembers that they may want to change the name of RT Park in order to accommodate the new university.

Councilmember Jose Flores agreed with Ashbeck about changing the name of RT park, because things have been changing and what was envisioned when it was first named is no longer a reality.

“I think what we have before us will safeguard that vision we had of research and technology with an added educational component that will give us that med component too.” Flores said.

Whalen commented he was nervous when he first heard of changing RT Park to allow the CHSU to develop within the park. He was also skeptical about the expansion project. However, he is now more at ease because CHSU has delivered on their promises.

“We have a partner in CHSU that has shown themselves to be trustworthy and that they will not be abusing the privilege of being able to build houses within the R and T Park.” Whalen said.

The council voted unanimously to pass the memorandum of understanding between the City of Clovis and CHSU.

Jorge Rodriguez
Jorge Rodriguez has a passion for journalism and wants to bring the community information and great stories. After high school Jorge joined the U.S. Army and while in active duty he was deployed twice to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. While in college he worked for the Fresno City College Rampage and the Fresno State Collegian newspapers. He graduated from Fresno State in 2019 with a degree in print journalism.