Finding home in a crowded place


A floor plan of the second floor of the Studios on Cabrillo, located at Carson Street and Cabrillo Avenue in Torrance. The building can house 65 to 70 students. Photo courtesy of Wayne Dolan, project manager.

In a renovated hotel located on the corner of two busy streets in old Torrance, EC students mingle with those just like them, those with unfamiliar faces in unfamiliar places.

The Studios on Cabrillo, “dormitory style student housing,” as described in the brochure, is located at Carson Street and Cabrillo Avenue and has 39 units with room available for 65-70 students, set up by the El Camino College Foundation.

But, although the original plan was to be just for EC students, there are also students who attend California State Universities Fullerton and Long Beach and Loyola Marymount University occupying the space, Angie Covarrubias, on-site manager, said.

“The board (Director of the Foundation Katie Gleason is part of) said there was a need in the community” for student housing like this since there’s not much like it in the South Bay, Wayne Dolan, project manager, said.

The first level of the space consists of four tables for students to do homework, couches and a TV, a kitchen, and a ping pong table. The second has single, large single, and double bedrooms and bathrooms.

Covarrubias said the students regularly have movie nights and potlucks in the first floor community room.

Gleason added a local language school rented out a group of rooms during the summer, putting the building at full occupancy.

“This is proving to be a successful project,” Gleason said.

Both Gleason and Dolan said the response from the students has been positive, adding the proximity to retail and entertainment is a plus.

A part of the job Dolan has enjoyed is a global community coming together under one roof. Many students living in the unit come from around the country and even other countries, yet they’re living together.

“It seems like students were feeling that impact,” Dolan said. “I’ve enjoyed seeing the world through other people’s opinions.”

Although it’s still early in the project, Dolan said talks of expanding the same kind of idea are happening and the bumps with the first project are starting to smooth out, leaving the group optimistic about moving forward.

Covarrubias said there are only 22 students living in the rooms now, but Dolan said he thinks they’ll be full by the end of the month.

Most recently, students from Harbor College and UCLA have expressed interest in the building, Dolan said.

As for Dolan’s favorite part of the project so far, he enjoys seeing the students happy with what they’re providing.

“My favorite part was seeing everything come together,” he added. “The students can appreciate what’s going on there.”