Olmsted housing will improve Stanford's recruiting of coaches

The construction of 25 housing units, including 17 single-family homes and four duplexes, designed primarily for athletic coaches and their families, is nearing completion on a three-acre plot between El Camino Real and Olmsted Road. Families begin moving in this month.

L.A. Cicero General contractor Todd Hitchman inspects new home

General contractor Todd Hitchman inspected the installations at the new units.

The Stanford Athletics housing project between El Camino Real and Olmsted Road, projected to make recruiting coaches easier, is nearing completion after a year and a half of construction, according to Deputy Athletic Director Ray Purpur.

Like the nearby and newly opened faculty housing project on Stanford Avenue, the additional housing for coaches is intended to offset the extraordinary cost of living in the Stanford area. Often, newly hired staff members have trouble finding affordable living space near campus.

"We're the most expensive housing market in all of Division 1A athletics," said Purpur. Having an on-campus housing option makes Stanford more competitive when recruiting talented coaches, he added.

"Now, when we bring in a coach or an assistant coach, we can say, 'here's your salary, here's your team, and your budget and your benefits'," said Purpur.  "And by the way, here's a house."

Building homes for coaches has been part of Stanford Athletics' master plan for the past 25 years, Purpur said.  The project was first proposed in 2007. The trustees gave construction approval to a scaled-back plan in April 2009.

The first seven homes will be ready for move-in on Sept. 15, with seven more opening within a month. All the buildings should be completed before Christmas.

L.A. Cicero The Olmsted Road Staff Rental Housing, which includes 17 single-family homes and four duplexes for Department of Athletics coaches on 3 acres bounded by El Camino Real, Stanford Avenue and Olmsted Road.

The Olmsted Road Staff Rental Housing, which includes 17 single-family homes and four duplexes for Department of Athletics coaches on 3 acres bounded by El Camino Real, Stanford Avenue and Olmsted Road.

Each home is two stories and comes with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The houses, which range from 1,550 to 1,880 square feet, are each equipped with stainless steel appliances, a washer and dryer, and a big-screen television installed above a fireplace.

"It's a little outrageous how nice they are," joked Purpur.

All the houses are for rent only, which will allow for flexibility, since coaches tend to be transitory. The Athletics Department's long-term goal is for the complex to serve as transitional housing so that short-term coaches can avoid the logistical hassle that comes with moving, and long-term coaches can eventually afford a down payment on a house.

Purpur said the project has been supported by Stanford alumnus John Arrillaga, who has been involved as project manager.

"He's the driving force behind getting this done," said Purpur.

Although the buildings have not been completed, all the homes are spoken for.  The neighborhood will be mostly populated with a mix of head and assistant coaches, although three of the units will be occupied by staff members from outside athletics.

Purpur hopes that the neighborhood will be a fun, close-knit community. All the families moving into the new housing have children, and a large playground will be installed in the complex courtyard.

"I think there's going to be huge barbecues outside where people talk about coaching philosophies," said Purpur. He hopes that the neighborhood will facilitate communication between coaches, eventually allowing more experienced coaches to mentor new ones.