Stanford Redwood City taking shape in time for 2019 opening

Located 5 miles from the main campus, Stanford Redwood City, a 35-acre development, is the university’s first major expansion outside the main campus. Staff members are scheduled to begin moving in mid-March 2019.

Chris Bright, campus director for Stanford Redwood City, has been working for the past year sorting through the myriad details involved in completing and opening the university’s new campus.

Chris Bright

Chris Bright is campus director for Stanford Redwood City. (Image credit: Erick Lobos)

Located 5 miles from the main campus, Stanford Redwood City is the university’s first major expansion. When completed in autumn 2019, the 35-acre campus will feature four building complexes designed to foster collaborative working, a landscaped greenway, dining facilities, a child care center, a fitness center with pool, a 2.4-acre park and a sustainable central energy facility – all located about a mile and a half from downtown Redwood City.

Some staff members from nine areas are slated to move to Stanford Redwood City, including Business Affairs and the chief financial officer; Land, Buildings and Real Estate; the Office of Continuing Studies; the Office of Development, including Medical Center Development; Technology Licensing; Residential & Dining Enterprises; School of Medicine; University Human Resources; and University Libraries.

Bright answers questions about the details that have gone into creating the new campus so far and what is left to complete before the first wave of staff members begins moving to the new campus in spring.


How is construction proceeding at Stanford Redwood City?

The campus is really taking shape and construction is on schedule, with the first phase expected to be completed by early 2019. It is still very much a construction site, but when you drive down Broadway or Bay Road, you can see all of the buildings in various stages of completion. The remainder of the building exterior work is nearing completion in advance of winter. You can already get a sense of how attractive and easily navigated this campus will be. Specific information about current and future construction is available on two websites: Redwood City construction gallery and Cardinal at Work’s interactive map of the Redwood City campus.


How soon will employees begin to move into their new offices?

The first group of employees is slated to move into Cardinal Hall, which is the heart of the campus and really its front door, in mid-March 2019.


How has the university been communicating with the staff members who are moving to Stanford Redwood City?

Early on in the project, communication was done through each area’s change management and leadership team, and they continue to play a critical role. We then launched a SRWC microsite on the Cardinal at Work website where employees could find more details about the new campus. Last spring, we rolled out a change-readiness survey. When it came to communication, employees who responded to the survey said they wanted a regular newsletter as well as opportunities to connect with colleagues before the move.

So, we began distributing a monthly newsletter in May after we had a clearer idea of who specifically was moving. We now send the Stanford Redwood City newsletter to 2,300 employees. It includes updates on project milestones, answers to frequently asked questions and access to other resources to prepare for the move.

On Nov. 7, we will host a Resource Fair for employees moving to Stanford Redwood City. In addition to fostering community, employees will have an opportunity to learn more about the amenities and services available on the new campus.


What are some of those amenities?

There will be attractive outdoor spaces, a full-service café and recreation center and, eventually, a day care center. Stanford Credit Union will have an office on campus to provide banking services. Other personal services are being finalized and will be communicated at a later date.

A great deal of consideration has been going into what kind of programming we will offer, similar to the programming on the main campus. I am already working with groups such as BeWell to host campus events that will bring the Stanford Redwood City community together.

We’re also very focused on ensuring that this campus feels like Stanford, which is why the building names are evocative of the main campus and of the university’s mission. A lot of resources are also being committed to helping employees rethink their commutes. That’s appropriate, given that parking, transportation and commutes remain among the primary concerns of the people moving here.


Since there are no plans for an intercampus shuttle service, how will connections between SRWC and the main campus be managed?

Besides Stanford Redwood City, the university is becoming much more distributed with, for instance, alternative worksites in Newark, San Jose and San Francisco.  Maintaining a campus connection is important in all these areas, as well as in Redwood City.

We don’t plan to have an intercampus shuttle, but we’ve identified other opportunities to maintain connectivity. First, there are plans to have a touchdown space on the main campus for employees whose primary work location is in Redwood City. Details about the location are being ironed out, but it will be located in close proximity to parking, and the reservation process will be managed similarly to the alternative worksites in Newark and San Francisco.

Second, the technology infrastructure is being built out on the main campus to facilitate a virtual community. The use of technology and collaboration tools like Zoom, Slack and Jabber is going to be critical. It’s important to remember that the opening of the new campus affects everyone at Stanford, not just the people moving here. So these are tools we will all need to learn and use frequently as we communicate across campuses.


What kind of reaction have you seen among Redwood City residents and city officials?

The project team has been working closely with the community and City of Redwood City for more than a decade on this project. While our teams were designing the project, we held town halls and community forums and we attended neighborhood meetings to ensure that the community was being informed about the university’s plans and also to seek feedback from our new neighbors. It was a very open process – and at every stage we felt welcomed – and we appreciate the feedback we continue to receive.

At the groundbreaking, which was a little over a year ago, the leadership of Redwood City – the mayor, City Council members, staff and neighbors – were there to celebrate. It was an event that honored the partnership we have developed and aim to continue as we make this new campus our home.

I had the opportunity to participate in a 10-month leadership program sponsored by the Redwood City–San Mateo County Chamber of Commerce.  My program colleagues represented many community organizations and public agencies, and there was a lot of enthusiasm about Stanford Redwood City.