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Residence halls ready to move into

With the amount of construction on campus, it’s refreshing to see at least two finished products in between the dirt and scaffolding this year. After more than a year of work, residence halls Cypress and Beta have been completed and are now open to students.

A way to visualize the amount of students the new buildings will house is via bed count. Tom Kane, director of residence services, said the two buildings add 900 beds, bringing the total to 4,400.

While Cypress is completely new, Beta isn’t. The 15-month renovation cost about $7 million, Kane said. The only remaining parts of the 30-year-old building are the concrete and brick; everything from the wiring to furniture is new.

“We gutted the building,” he said. “It is a completely new building on the inside.”

The most significant change is the additional bathrooms on each floor. Kane calls Beta a “traditional” residence hall, meaning it had one community bathroom on each floor. The hall was co-ed, but designated by all-male or all-female floors. The new bathrooms allow both males and females to live on each floor.

Cypress Hall holds 600 new beds. Of those, 300 are suite-style and 300 are apartment-style bedrooms. With the new buildings come improvements, Kane said.

“Every time we do a project, we learn something from the last time,” he said.

A complaint received about the suite-style rooms was the bathroom design. If someone was in the shower, the bathroom was inaccessible to other students. To improve on the old design, the utilities have been broken up, with the shower and toilet in separate areas, allowing students access to each without conflict. Kane calls the new design “compartmentalized bathrooms.”

The building also has a lounge for students on each floor, an area to meet friends or study. Cypress Hall’s total cost was about $24 million, which is reasonable for the amount of students it will house, Kane said.

Of the total amount of students living on campus this year, 40 percent are returning students, Kane said. The remaining 60 percent are freshmen.

“We house between house 50 to 60 percent of the freshmen class,” he said.

Kane estimates about 200 students will be turned away because of complete occupancy of all residence halls. There will always be some students turned away because of this reason, he said.

“Two hundred students is a nice number, but of course we would like it to be zero,” he said.

In his seven years at USF, Kane has seen the number of students turned away as low as five and as high as 300. He anticipates the number being about 200 for next year as well.

Though the buildings have been completed, the dust won’t have much time to settle; there are already plans for another residence hall. While location and other details are not set, Kane said their goal is to have the number of beds at 5,000 by 2007.