After 35 years of existence, the USF St. Petersburg campus has plans for student housing.
“The project, if approved by the Board of Trustees, would start out small with one building and about 123 beds,” said Cedric Howard, director for Student Services.
Apart from providing dormitories, the project plans to accommodate other student necessities.
Although the plan has not been approved, there is a lot of excitement from students as well as from the faculty.
The project could break ground in the spring of 2004. The undertaking funded by the USF foundation, is projected to be open for students in the fall of 2005.
The preliminary projected annual rent for a double room would be $3,700 and $4,500 for a single room.
Ralph Wilcox, interim vice president and CEO of the St. Pete campus, said that the project as of right now is estimated to cost about $4.5 million.
“Over the next couple of months, we’re going to consider all types of things that need to coincide with the housing project,” Howard said. “For example, a health center, a cafeteria; there is a mention of a bookstore and things of that sort.”
The Board of Trustees will meet to discuss the approval of the project Feb. 20.
The upcoming housing project is something convenient to many students who have become attached to the St. Pete campus and who do not necessarily want to drive to other USF campuses.
“I’m very excited about the efforts to make USF St. Petersburg a more residential campus,” said Gary A. Olson, interim vice president for the St. Pete campus.
The idea for student housing is a project that has been in motion for about two years.
“I think they’ve done a good job of consulting the students and the other bodies on campus to get a good sense of what the needs are and go at it in a logical way,” said Jim Sechnur, USF alumnus and a St. Pete campus librarian.
“I think (the student housing project) is really great,” said senior Matt Kane. “I travel from all the way from West Shore. It takes me 30 minutes to get here.”
Kane said that if the St. Pete campus had nice apartments around the campus and good deals for students that he would have been interested in living in them.
Wilcox emphasizes that the prices are only preliminary, due to the fact that the project is not even approved.
In the past, the St. Pete campus student population was mainly commuters and did not attract many freshman and sophomores.
“When I came to school here in 1986, the campus was primarily commuter, and nearly all the classes were at nighttime,” Sechnur said. “During the daytime there were very few students on campus. Most of the students back then were juniors, seniors and graduate students.”