Sac State to bring satellite campus to Placer County

University partnering with Sierra College to expand learning centers


Sacramento State’s Placer Center will serve as a gateway for Sierra College transfer and students of Placer County to further their college education with Sacramento State. The center is planned to open in 2027. (Photo courtesy of Placer Ranch, Inc.)

Tierra Tilby

Sacramento State, in collaboration with Sierra Community College, is expanding north to Placer County to bring a satellite campus for both colleges. 

Officials from both schools broke ground last fall on the Placer Center, which aims to educate both community college and four-year university students.

The campus will be a combination of a bigger project in the county.

More than 2,000 acres of land where the campus will be located will also eventually have a residential area, retail spots, offices and parks. 

Jonathan Bowman, vice president for Administration and Business Affairs for Sac State, said the overall goal for this project is to “build a two-plus educational system.” 

“Placer County is one of the few areas of California that does not have a CSU,” Bowman said. “[It] does have the feeder system that looks like they are growing and could support an additional educational four-year center.” 

The Placer Center will be located in an unincorporated area, not currently under a local government, between Rocklin, Roseville and Lincoln. 

The center is currently in its master-planning process, Bowman said. That includes the environmental impact report which will highlight the campus’ impact on the environment and traffic impact in the area.

Bowman said he expects the report to be presented to the Board of Trustees in November, but said it’s a possibility that timeline may get pushed back if logistical problems arise. 

In order to help fund the project, Sac State is working with Sierra College and Placer County to fund construction of some of the campus’s buildings.

“The county has the money for a crime lab and Sierra College for an academic building,” Bowman said. “Those should be the first buildings built that would probably be first opened at the earliest in 2027.”

Bowman said the Placer Center will have five, ten and fifteen year phases to hopefully grow into a 12,000 person campus.

The Placer Center’s plans also include housing students, Bowman said. 

“We’re going to try to get some of the affordable housing money from the state for dorms but that’s not guaranteed yet,” Bowman said.

On any given day, between 3,000 to 5,000 Sac State students commute from Placer County to Sac State. Nearly 40% of our students will transfer to Sac State

— Josh Morgan

Josh Morgan, director of marketing and community relations and public information officer at Sierra College, said this project between the two campuses, emphasizes student access.

He said both colleges will have student services on the Placer Center campus to help counsel students on prerequisites and transferring.

“On any given day, between 3,000 to 5,000 Sac State students commute from Placer County to Sac State,” Morgan said. “Nearly 40% of our students will transfer to Sac State.”

Second-year biology major Alexandra Gonzalez said this partnership between the two colleges will benefit transfer students.  

“I’ve had friends who had problems transferring from community college,” Gonzalez said. “They realized they didn’t take a class and had to spend more time and money in college.” 

Gonzalez said having help with transferring from representatives from both campuses in the same room at the same time will speed up the transferring process.

Morgan said by creating the campus with Sac State, Sierra College is attempting to make it easier for their students to transfer to Sac State by creating a space closer to the Sierra College students. 

“Access and making it as easy as possible for students to get to school has a direct correlation to their likely success,” Morgan said. “We can make it so students can get access to education that ties in with our number one goal, which is student success.”

Bowman and Morgan said they are both exploring what dual enrollment will look like at the Placer Center campus and what classes will be transferable to Sac State.

Morgan said he will leave it up to Sac State and the State of California to decide if the Placer Center project has a possibility of becoming its own CSU. He said, if successful enough, the location would be an ideal location for a state university.

“Working together with Sac State on this has really demonstrated that there is an opportunity for all of us in higher education to work together for students,” Morgan said. “It’s not about how many students that we can enroll just at Sierra College, it’s how many that we can help be successful overall.”