Possible Sac State satellite campus in the works, future uncertain


A map of the area where the Sacramento State satellite campus would be built. Photo courtesy of Holly Tiche of Placer Ranch, Inc. 

Andrew Brown

At the time this article was sent to the printer for today’s issue of The Hornet, the author had not yet received a statement from Sacramento State. We have since received a comment from Elisa Smith, director of news and communications from Public Affairs and Advocacy: 

“Sacramento State’s commitment to meet the demand for highly educated and skilled college graduates for the capital region’s workforce remains strong, and includes the long-term vision for a campus in South Placer County,” Smith said. “We look forward to once again working with Eli Broad in this endeavor.” 

Sacramento State has been waiting 13 years to expand beyond the city limits, but the wait will continue with no end in sight.

Placer Ranch is an area of land within the Sunset Area of Placer County located on the northern outskirts of Roseville and surrounded by Rocklin and Lincoln.

In 2003, Los Angeles businessman Eli Broad approached then Sac State President Alexander Gonzalez about building a 300-acre campus in the Placer Ranch development.

The Sacramento Bee reported at the time that the satellite campus proposal was a way to divert negative opinions about the rest of the Placer Ranch development, which is located near a landfill.

At the time Gonzalez and Broad began to partner on the Placer Ranch development, it was reported that Sac State had nearly 7,000 students commuting to campus from Roseville.

Broad continued to work on the project until 2008 when he put the development on hold due to the economic and housing crash.

He continued to hold on to the land on which Placer Ranch sits until 2013 when Westpark Communities, a real estate firm, purchased it from Broad.

In 2014, Sac State agreed to a partnership with Sierra College to share the land and create a college community that would eventually include other local colleges.

Westpark Communities continued to pursue the Placer Ranch development until 2015 when they sold the land back to Broad and his newly created business dealing with the project Placer Ranch Inc.

Angelo Tsakopoulos, Sacramento area real estate developer was briefly in the mix to purchase the land according to a Sacramento Bee report last year.

Tsakopoulos made headlines in 2002 when the EPA said one of his developments violated the Clean Water Act.

He sued the U.S. government and the case went to the Supreme Court. Because one chief justice was connected to Tsakopoulos he had to recuse himself. Ultimately, SCOTUS finished 4-4 and Tsakopoulos lost.

Chairman of the Placer County Board of Supervisors Kirk Uhler told the Sac Bee at the time that he thought Westpark Communities backed out due to pressure from the California Environmental Quality Act process.

When asked for a response, Westpark Communities and the public officials behind CEQA did not respond to interview requests.

Placer Ranch, Inc. President Holly Tiche said she believes Westpark Communities dropped out due to a lack financial sense for their organization.

Tiche said the Placer Ranch development is currently in the entitlement process, which can take years to accomplish.

Michele Kingsbury, the principal management analyst of Placer County, explained what the entitlement process will consist of in regards to Placer Ranch.

“Placer County is proceeding forward into the entitlement process to complete technical studies, prepare a specific plan, as well as an Environmental Impact Report for the proposed Specific Plan,” Kingsbury said.

When asked why Placer Ranch has failed to come to fruition, Kingsbury said she is not surprised.

“It is not uncommon for a large scale development to go through changes of ownership and starts and stops before they are finalized and approved,” Kingsbury said.

Kingsbury said she was not aware of any CEQA problems because they have not completed an EIR yet, and was unaware of any criticism regarding the Placer Ranch development in regards to the report about the project being a diversion for Broad’s other development at Placer Ranch.

It was reported last month that Placer County wanted to continue on with the Placer Ranch project even without the full focus of Broad.

As it stands now, Placer County is continuing its efforts to develop a specific plan so that the project can continue to move forward.

Even though the project continues to stall, students say the satellite campus would be a benefit to the campus community.

Kristen Bryant, a senior communication studies major, said it depends on who the school ultimately benefits.

“My commute is 30 minutes when it’s not during rush hour; however, it’s an hour during rush hour,” Bryant said. “I think it depends on the amount of CSUS students living in Roseville.”

Macey Jaime, a sophomore family and consumer sciences major, said she thinks Placer Ranch could have a major impact if it gets completed.

“I think that having a Roseville satellite campus would be great for Sac State. A great number of my friends that live in Roseville and Rocklin commute to Sac State every day,” Jaime said. “I think that uniting multiple schools to ease the transferring process for students would have been a great idea, and it’s disappointing when they withdrew the application last fall. But now I’m excited about the progress they’re making towards bringing the concept forward.”