Construction pushes forward on new housing village
With this year’s demolition of Delta, Epsilon, Eta and Zeta dorms in the Andros Complex, the new USF Residential Village continues on schedule.
To those in the thick of things, the project has been ongoing for some time and naming a date that the work began is not simple.
“Define ‘begin,’” USF’s Assistant Director for Design and Construction for Major Projects Steve Lafferty said, laughing.
“We had been thinking about this project for quite some time,” Ana Hernandez, assistant vice president for housing and residential education, said.
In 2010, action was taken to construct a hall using “traditional methods” of construction and financing, according to Hernandez. However, a lack of available funding opportunities led USF to pursue other options, and in 2012, the decision to work with Public-Private Partnership (P3) began.
In 2014, an Invitation to Negotiate was issued as a proposal to find a funding company that would help cover the costs of building a new residential area.
Selecting a firm to collaborate with was an 18-month-long process, Hernandez said.
Being the largest P3-sponsored endeavor for the state university system is an undertaking that has been a thoughtful and methodical process, Hernandez said.
With a $134 to $135 million budget, the new USF Village will provide — in addition to housing — an Aramark dining hall that may be open 24/7, a wellness center and additional shopping stores, according to Lafferty.
Separate from the partnership with the rest of the village, the on-campus Publix is a companion project, Hernandez said.
“We’re very excited and looking forward to opening our store on the campus of USF,” said Brian West, Publix’s media and community relations manager. “It will provide convenient shopping to our customers — the students of USF — without leaving the campus.”
Currently, there are two on-site contractors.
FINFROCK Construction is responsible for the residential buildings while the Clancy & Theys Construction Company is responsible for completing the dining and wellness buildings in the village.
Demolition began in May 2016, with as many as 1,500 construction workers currently on campus, according to Lafferty.
Over the next two years, there will be three phases of demolition and two phases of construction.
Phase One is estimated to be completed in fall of 2017 and will offer 885 beds, according to Hernandez. Shortly thereafter, Iota, Kappa, Lambda, Mu and Theta will go as part of Phase Two. Completion is approximated for fall of 2018, with a cumulative total of 1,196 beds.
Lora Bishop, a sophomore majoring in psychology, was a resident of Delta Hall last year.
“It was OK — enough space that you didn’t feel suffocated — but it still wasn’t very nice,” she said. “A lot of stuff was old and broken. Our bathrooms were kind of gross sometimes.”
The new housing can be compared to the Maple and Juniper-Poplar residence hall layouts with modifications, according to Lafferty. One of the halls will offer community bathrooms while the other rooms will have shared bathrooms between suitemates.
Applications for the new fall of 2017 housing are expected to be available Nov. 1. However, Housing and Recreation has not released the projected rent for the rooms.