Housing, construction projects planned for USF

By Alex Rosenthal, MANAGING EDITOR
On December 5, 2013

 

In the past 10 years, the university has seen many new buildings go up, ranging from the Marshall Student Center (MSC) to the Juniper-Poplar residence halls to the new state of the art, seven-story Interdisciplinary Sciences building.

In the next 10 years, the USF Tampa campus could see a range of even more buildings and construction projects around campus.

One project students will likely look forward to the most include plans for a new residential village on the north side of campus, a redevelopment project the USF Board of Trustees will discuss at a meeting today.

According to a document on the BOT’s agenda, the project aims to “redevelop the 50-year-old Andros complex of 1,039 beds and supporting structures with potentially 2,500 new beds in a campus-transforming ‘village concept’ with appropriate retail, dining, parking, recreational and other attractive student amenities on three possible sites.”

The project is expected to “increase the number of students living on campus … and support the university’s credit position, which is expected to provide a substantial positive financial impact,” the document states.

Final plans for the project, as well as a completion date and total cost, have not been decided on, but the university began initial steps of the renovations this semester by closing the dining hall in the Andros Center, and a selection committee is expected to make an offer to one of three advisory firms to steer the project.

Plans for the new housing project, as well as the other proposed plans for the university, are contingent upon the availability of the Capital Improvement Trust Fund (CITF) and Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO) funds among other factors, administrators said.

Sujit Chemburkar, director of MSC, said another requested project at the university is renovations to the MSC. Though no plans are concrete, he said, the MSC looks to increase the size of the MSC’s current 243,658 square feet.

“There is a need to expand the services we offer,” Chemburkar said. “That includes are reservation spaces, as well as space for various departments that would like to be housed here because we are located at the center of the campus.”

Chemburkar said this project is reliant on the availability of CITF funding and if demand from the residential areas of campus grows.

Another project, presented to the Student Government Senate last month by Vice President for Administrative Services Sandy Lovins, is the “Greenway”

project.

Lovins said the project, a “no-build, no-disturb” design to promote wildlife and recreation on campus stretching from the Botanical Gardens in the southwest corner of campus to the USF Forest Preserve in the northeast corner, is part of the university’s 2010-20 Campus Master Plan.

Projections for the Greenway, which would include new ponds, trees and other landscaping, would also promote walking and biking on campus while offsetting USF’s carbon footprint by having greenery that removes carbon dioxide from the air and producing oxygen.

The Greenway, as well as the housing renovations, will be constructed in phases — the first of which has already been constructed for the Greenway, with new landscape incorporated around Castor Beach and a pavilion recently built by West Pond north of the Juniper-Poplar residence halls.

In future years, the campus may also have more parking garages, Lovins said. Although there are currently enough parking spaces for the cars on campus, she said, they are not where people want them to be. Because of this, the idea of replacing some existing parking lots with multistory garages to increase efficiency has been brought up in some conversations at the university.

“The goal that was given to us and supported by the Board of Trustees is to go vertical, and that is what you see (in the Campus Master Plan),” Lovins said. “We’ve been studying our traffic flows and look at what that landscape should look like.”

There are numerous other items on the Campus Master Plan, all reliant on availability of funding and representing needs on campus according to administrators. Another item on the list, scheduled to break ground and begin early construction, is the USF Health Heart Institute.

The Health Heart Institute, which has received $8.9 million in funding from the county and state in 2012, will focus on regenerative medicine using the latest in gene and stem cell therapy to help identify those at risk and find new treatments for cardiovascular disease, according to the USF Health website.

Located on the northwest corner of Magnolia Drive and Holly Drive, north of the Moffitt Cancer Center, the Health Heart Institute is scheduled to break ground and begin construction Dec. 17.

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