Feeling a pinch

Students planning to live on campus this fall should brace for a housing rate increase between 4 and 6 percent.

Tom Kane, director for USF Residence Life, said one reason for the increase is the high cost of utilities, specifically air conditioning and heating.

“The utilities are through the ceiling,” he said.

Kane added that rates may continue to increase every year unless utility costs decrease. In addition, each residence hall will be responsible for lawn care expenses, which will be added to students’ housing rates.

Kane said the rates for double and single units in Kosove, along with single units in Andros residence halls and Castor Hall will increase by 6 percent.

Housing rates for a double unit in Kosove will be about $426 and single units in the Andros Complex will be $514.

Rates for double unit residence halls in the Andros Complex, along with Castor Hall, Holly Apartments and Magnolia will increase by 5 percent, while Magnolia single units will increase by 4 percent.

Kane said the 4 to 6-percent increase is normal for student housing each year.

From 1994 to 1996, Kane said, there was a 10 percent increase in student housing, the largest in USF history. And in 1997, the average increase was 7 percent.

With the shortage of housing units and an increasing number of students wanting to live on campus, USF negotiated a leasing agreement with Fontana Hall, an off-campus student housing complex owned by College Park.

Kane said USF will house students in Fontana Hall for one year starting in the fall, and the lease agreement will be paid with students’ housing rates. However, Kane said no money was put down on the lease, but Residence Life did guarantee they would house 550 students in Fontana Hall. USF, not College Park, will receive student housing payments.

Though Greek housing and Maple housing will open in the fall, Beta and the Village will be closed for renovations.

Kane said 50 beds will be lost at the beginning of the renovation project.

“The students (living in Fontana Hall) will be considered on-campus residents,” Kane said.

Beta will re-open in fall 2004 to house 300 students, and Maple II, an addition to Maple housing on Maple and Holly drives, will also open in 2004 with room for 900 students.

There are currently 3,600 students living on campus, Kane said. By fall 2004, 4,400 students will live on campus.

Kane added that most of the students currently living in residence halls are from USF’s surrounding four counties: Pinellas, Hillsborough, Polk and Pasco.

“The goal is to have 5,000 beds on campus by 2007,” Kane said. “(USF) is currently number three (in Florida) for on-campus housing. By 2007, we will be number two — ahead of FSU.”

The University of Florida houses 8,000 students, making it number one in the state.

Kane said 1,400 more beds will have to be built from now until 2007 to meet the goal.