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USF plans additional on-campus housing

USF has approved a new $35-million residence hall and dining complex close to Magnolia Apartments and also plans to renovate apartments in the Andros complex.

The new residence hall, which will be able to house 1,000 students, follows other recent additions to on-campus housing. In the past two years, USF has added Cypress Hall, Cypress Apartments and the Greek Village to the Tampa campus. With the new building scheduled to open in 2007, the Tampa campus will be able to accommodate 5,400 students.

“We’re trying to give students a better collegiate experience than just going to college, and we want people to know that USF is a 24/7 campus,” said Tom Kane, director of Residence Services.

The new residence hall will be constructed on part of parking lot No. 24, north of Magnolia Apartments. Residence Services hired Wallace, Roberts and Todd of Coral Gables, a master-plan consulting firm, to survey the campus for possible locations.

Kane said Residence Services would seek bids for the design and construction of the complex later this year and hopes to sign a contract by January 2006.

When complete, the new residence hall will play a vital role in Residence Services’ plans to renovate the nearly 40-year-old Andros complex. The new facilities will be used to house students displaced once renovations on Andros begin. Renovation of the complex will be carried out in two phases, with half of Andros’ 1,000 students being relocated to the new complex in each phase. The process is planned to conclude in 2009.

Kane said building the new residence hall first would enable Residence Services to carry out the renovation without losing revenue from rent.

“If you don’t build the new beds, you won’t have places to put the students when you renovate, and that means money,” Kane said.

Freshman Marie Sinco, who lives in Epsilon, said the renovation of the complex was urgently needed.

“There’s mold on the bathroom ceiling and strange white dust that falls in the room,” Sinco said. “After the hurricanes (last fall) water leaked, and it became moldy because it wasn’t fixed. It was pretty gross,” she said.

Sophomore Crystal Nash agreed that renovation would bring residents some basic comforts.

“The windows would open, the air conditioning and heat would work better, and (there) would be fewer bugs,” she said.

The additions to the Tampa campus are part of USF’s long-term growth plan. USF Executive Vice President Carl Carlucci said USF’s Board of Trustees submitted a 10-year projected growth plan to the state’s Board of Governors last year. To meet the state’s demand and to achieve USF’s growth goals, Carlucci said USF has to expand its facilities, faculty and services to students.