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USF unveils “The Village,” USF’s latest housing project

USF's housing project, named "The Village," will house 2,000 students upon its completion in 2018. ORACLE PHOTO/JACKIE BENITEZ

USF System President Judy Genshaft and the USF Board of Trustees revealed the name and official plans for the new housing village that is replacing the Andros complex during an unveiling ceremony in the Marshall Student Center (MSC) on Thursday afternoon.

The new residence village, known simply as “The Village,” will feature an outdoor pool, a health and wellness center known as “The Fit” and a dining commons called “The Hub.”  The plans also include an on-campus Publix.

“(Publix) is one of the most respected companies, not only in Florida, but nationally … it will serve as a lively and welcoming presence at the Tampa campus,” Genshaft said.

The complex will be a much-needed improvement over the old Andros buildings, which were constructed in the late 1960s.

Genshaft recognized that it was time to renovate USF housing.

“More paint on Andros was not going to help us,” she said.

The five residence halls themselves will be called “Beacon,” “Summit,” “Endeavor,” “Horizon” and “Pinnacle.”  The dorms will be both traditional and suite-style living.

The first phase of the housing village, which includes halls Beacon and Summit, is expected to be completed by Fall 2017 for 852 students.  The remaining halls (Endeavor, Horizon and Pinnacle) will be finished by Fall 2018 for a total living space available to 2,000 students.

In her speech, Genshaft cited studies that revealed that better living conditions improve students’ academic performance.  She said that ultimately the purpose of this $133 million project is student success.

“Now the time has come to reshape the University of South Florida housing and residential education and to take our university in yet another transformative direction,” she said.

Brian Lamb, chair of the USF Board of Trustees, echoed Genshaft’s sentiment.  He spoke directly to the students, reminding them that the new housing village is for them.

“What you're doing makes us proud, what you're doing is why we're here today,” he said.  “We are supporting you, we are thinking about you and we are committed to your success.”

The project, which had a two-year planning and preparation phase, is financed through a public-private partnership between USF and Capstone-Harrison Street, LLC.  It is the single largest investment in the firm’s history, according to Harrison Street’s CEO, Chris Merrill.

“Rarely have we seen a project that has the near- and long-term positive impact that this USF institution is likely to have,” said L. Jeff Jones, principal of Capstone Development Partners, LLC.