The Campus Life Project is an approximately 400,000 square foot enhancement project aimed at improving the quality of life on the Malibu Pepperdine campus through new and remodeled residential, recreational, athletic, and ancillary support facilities. Rhiannon Bailard oversees the entitlement of the project. It is the realization of Pepperdine University's previously approved long-term plans to enhance the quality of life for its existing student body on the Malibu campus.

This continues the fulfillment of its commitments to provide a high-caliber education, maintain consistency with its long-term plans, and ensure careful design that respects its neighbors and our environment.  The details of the Campus Life Project below is derived from a combination of Mrs Bailard's presentation as well as the on-line report at .

Student needs have changed dramatically in the nearly 40 years since the Malibu campus was opened. This project is aimed at responding to the evolving needs of its students by creating memorable spaces that foster lifelong connections. By providing gathering places we promote community and encourage healthy recreation, supportive residential living, and improved athletic opportunities.   

The project itself is comprised of six components. Highlights include:

  • 468 new student beds to house 75% of its undergraduates on-campus. An increase in student residents creates an equivalent reduction in commuter students as the University is not increasing enrollment. This project will thus improve daily traffic patterns in the local community.
  • A community gathering space in the heart of the Seaver College campus will result in the quintessential university element of a "quad" allowing for informal recreation and outdoor classes.
  • Enhancement of athletic venues to return the Pepperdine University Waves to national prominence. Athletics is a unifying force that crosses all boundaries to promote school spirit and community.
  • Upgrades of recreational facilities on-campus will provide extracurricular opportunities to encourage healthy living.
  • Continuation of Pepperdine's ongoing journey towards sustainability as we acquire L.E.E.D. certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
  • This is an infill project that enhances existing uses at their existing locations with the exception of the University Events Center, which was relocated to an existing parking lot in the northern interior away from neighboring uses.


Student Housing


Living on-campus allows for complete immersion in the Pepperdine University educational experience. It creates community, fosters in-the-moment mentorship, and enhances learning. On-campus student residents have higher grades, are more likely to go on to graduate school, and are fully supported 24/7 in their academic and spiritual pursuits. The existing facilities were constructed in the early 70s and require upgrades to remain relevant and responsive to the residential needs of students in the 21st century.

Underclassmen Housing - Standard Precinct

Located in the heart of the campus core, the University proposes to renovate sixteen existing residential buildings and add four new common buildings. This residential area is geared towards underclassmen to create a sense of community that will ease the student's transition from their parents homes and into their newly independent lives. 

Component highlights:

  • Net increase of 300 new student beds in an existing residential area.
  • Common buildings will house four resident directors and provide community amenities to encourage  relaxation, social interaction,  learning, and spirituality.
  • Per student requests, enhanced community laundry and kitchen facilities.
  • Enhanced outdoor gathering spaces interconnected by a formal pathway.
  • Seeking United States Green Building Council's L.E.E.D. certification

Upperclassmen Housing - Outer Precinct

 Pepperdine plans to replace existing residence halls with five new residential buildings and two common buildings. These residences respond to the needs of  upperclassmen (juniors and seniors) as they gain further independence and desire a different type of housing, which will foster community but also provide more privacy. This will encourage upperclassmen to live on-campus and will reintegrate juniors into the campus community ?after they return from study abroad programs their sophomore year.

Project highlights:

  • Net increase of 168 student beds in an existing residential community.
  • Apartment style living with private bedrooms and fewer students per bathroom.
  • Two common pavilions with enhanced student amenities.
  • Enhanced outdoor community gathering spaces including a student quad.
  • Seeking United States Green Building Council's L.E.E.D. certification.


Town Square


The Town Square will turn an existing parking lot in front of Smothers Theater into a central community gathering area to form a "quad" ?in the heart of Seaver College while retaining two levels of subterranean parking. This will provide open space for informal recreation,  community gatherings, and ?outdoor classes.


Project highlights:

  • New street-level Welcome Center located adjacent to Seaver Drive.
  • Elegantly landscaped quad area with public facilities and outdoor amenities.
  • Two levels of underground parking providing a net increase of approximately 200 new parking spaces (369 spaces total).
  • Use of reclaimed water for irrigation as occurs across the entirety of the Malibu campus, emphasis on native and drought-tolerant vegetation, and increase in permeable vegetation to reduce runoff and improve water quality.

Upgraded NCAA Soccer Field

Athletics are critical for the creation of school spirit and to build a sense of cohesion amongst  students and the larger community. Pepperdine will enhance the existing Stotsenberg Track and Tari Frahm Rokus Field to provide an upgraded NCAA Soccer Field consistent with other schools in the West Coast Conference.

Project highlights:

  • NCAA compliant soccer field with additional runoff area surrounding the field.
  • Permanent spectator seating to replace the existing 1,000 temporary bleacher seats.
  • Provision of restrooms and storage space at the field.
  • Nighttime lighting will allow student athletes to acquire majors that are currently unavailable to them as they must utilize class-time for practices and games.

Enhanced Recreation Area

 Pepperdine University's Malibu campus has very limited flat green space available for recreational sport due to its topography.  This component will enhance the recreational opportunities available for its students by enlarging the existing recreational field and creating a more efficient debris basin and stockpile.

Project Highlights Include

  • Enlarged recreational playing field to provide healthy extracurricular activities.
  • Restrooms and storage space.
  • More effective lighting to replace the current inefficient lighting.
  • Retention of the existing reconfigured debris basin and stockpile.

University Events Center

An important part of a liberal arts education is to engage in cultural and extracurricular activities. At the same time, athletics is critical to fostering school spirit and providing a diverse student population. Pepperdine's existing events venue, the Firestone Fieldhouse, was completed in 1973 and houses athletics, events, recreation, and intramural activities. The proposed University Events Center will consolidate and relocate the events and athletic components of the Firestone Fieldhouse to the northern campus interior away from neighboring uses and in a venue that is on-par with other schools in the West Coast Conference.

Project Highlights Include:


  • State of the art events venue with high-caliber audiovisual capabilities, media space, and concessions.
  • NCAA-regulation volleyball and basketball competition venue with approximately 5,000 permanent seats.
  • Athletic support areas including home and visiting locker rooms, team meeting rooms, strength/conditioning space, and academic support areas.
  • A unified location for Athletics offices to provide access to student athletes.
  • Provides approximately 830 adjacent parking spaces (265 net new).

Relocation of the University Events Center to the northern campus interior will allow Pepperdine to utilize existing approvals to remove spectator seating and convert the Firestone Fieldhouse into a recreation facility.

Parking Structures

 Pepperdine University has always provided sufficient parking to respond to existing student and community needs. The Campus Life Project seeks to provide efficient parking by transitioning existing parking lots into parking structures. This will allow for maximum capacity in a minimal footprint. Collectively, the University will add 796 net new spaces to the Malibu campus. Parking structures are planned adjacent to the University Events Center, subterranean to the Town Square, and at the School of Law.

School of Law Parking Structure

The existing School of Law student parking lot will transition into a three-level parking structure with 724 total spaces (433 net new). The exterior finishes and building materials for the parking structures will blend in with and complement the existing architectural dialogue on-campus.

Benefits for Pepperdine Students and Malibu Community

Every aspect of the Pepperdine Campus Project seems to have been well thought out by the planners.  Pepperdine neighbors who may have been bothered by events at Firestone Fieldhouse should be less bothered by the new University Events Center. Traffic should be reduced with the increased capacity for students to live on campus and make this more attractive to upper classmen.  And Pepperdine has always been gracious in allowing its neighbors to use its facilities.  So the benefits of the Pepperdine Campus Project would seem to be good for both Pepperdine and the Malibu community at large. 

Public Hearing Process and Timeline

Since Pepperdine chose not be part of the City of Malibu, its permits for applications only have to deal agencies of  the state of California and the County of Los Angeles.  The chart below shows where the process is at the moment.  On November 10, 2010 the County of Los Angeles released a Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Pepperdine University Campus Life Project. A 60-day public review and comment period began on November 10, with comments due to the County by January 10, 2011.  The County is about to respond to Public Comments, publish an FEIR and then make a decision.  It will then go to the Coastal Commission, probably in the summer of 2012.   Following completion of the Los Angeles County Regional Planning and California Coastal Commission processes, Pepperdine would finalize designs and proceed through the building permit process at Los Angeles County Building and Safety. They anticipate receiving building permits and the earliest possible initial construction of any component in 2013. The exact ?phasing of the individual components is unknown?. Pepperdine will determine the construction order of the components pursuant to fundraising and University need.