The Village housing concepts open for student viewing
The buildings can be seen sprouting up on the north side of campus, cranes hoisting pieces into place as the The Village begins to take shape.
Students interested in USF’s new housing village will be able to view floor plans and design boards for the new dorms tonight at 7:30.
The event will be held in the Argos study lounge next to the Housing and Residential Education office, located above the Fresh Foods dining hall.
In June, students will be able to register to live in two new residential buildings, Summit Hall and Beacon Hall, which are scheduled to be completed by fall of 2017.
“We think that (the) Village is really going to transform the on-campus experience and we’re looking forward to it being a great community gathering space,” Assistant Vice President of Housing and Residential Education Ana Hernandez said.
The new buildings are part of the new housing village that is replacing the old Andros Complex. The housing project will cost about $135 million, according to Hernandez. She said she expects demand for the two new halls opening in the fall to be high, and encourages those who want to live in the village to apply early.
Summit Hall will house the Honors College LLC upon its completion.
Both halls will offer both traditional and suite-style living, but with a slightly different look. The new traditional living spaces will include four communal bathrooms to a floor instead of just one. That puts eight students to each bathroom instead of 32, Hernandez said.
The new suite-style also has a different bathroom style. Instead of two rooms, each with two people living in them, sharing one bathroom, each space with two people living in the same room will have its own bathroom.
“What it is, is that we were looking to provide a different type of housing on our campus,” she said. “We are all about options … We’re really trying to make sure that students have the right type of space that fits with what they’re looking for and there was some desire to have increased privacy.”
The housing website has posted floor plans and rates for both of the new halls. The new dining hall in The Village, The Hub, is also set to be completed by fall 2017, with the new wellness center, The Fit, coming soon after, Hernandez said.
According to the housing website, a double in the traditional style in either hall is $852.50 a month, while a single is $1,098.75 a month. For the suite style, a double is $1,032.50 a month and a single is $1,248.75 a month.
Single options in Summit or Beacon are more expensive than any other hall offered in the traditional or suit styles. For suite-style, singles in The Village are the most expensive, with doubles in The Village the second-most expensive.
The next cheapest suite-style is a single in the hall of the old Andros Complex, Iota, Kappa, Lambda, Mu and Theta, which is $950.00 a month for 2017-18. This is $298.75 cheaper than a single suite-style in Summit or Beacon. It’s $82.50 cheaper than a double in suite-style in the two halls.
The double for suite-style in Summit of Beacon is $427.50 more expensive than the cheapest suite-style option, a double in the old Andros halls. The single suite-style in the new halls is $643.75 more expensive.
As for the traditional style, the doubles in The Village are $97.50 cheaper than singles in Castor Hall, but $157.50 more expensive than the cheapest option, doubles in Castor and Beta halls. The Castor and Beta doubles are $695 a month for 2017-18. These comparisons are all based on the 2017-18 rates released by housing.
Neither of the new halls will offer apartment style options. Hernandez said the apartments on campus are enough to fit the need that students currently have.
As far as possible delays, housing isn’t concerned about the buildings not being ready by the time fall comes around, according to Hernandez
“From a delay perspective, we were very diligent in selecting a partner that has a very good reputation for delivering on time, and so we are expecting everything will be delivered on time in the fall of ’17,” she said. “… We always make contingency plans so that we’re not caught off guard, but all indicators at this point are that we will be ready to welcome students in for the fall of 2017.”
In the past, USF St. Petersburg put students up in hotels when its dormitories were either unfinished or overbooked, as reported by The Oracle.
As far as the fact that students in Beacon and Summit will be living in a construction area, she said housing will notify students about early morning construction. The halls will be located on the northwest side of the construction site.
“Living next to a construction zone is always difficult,” she said. “We try to keep people really informed and we have great partners with the construction team that’s working on the project and so if it’s necessary that they’re doing really early morning work, they let us know and we let the students know that are in that immediate area.”
The higher prices for the new dorms combined with the noise of construction has some students raising eyebrows. Sarah Elmallah, a sophomore in health sciences, said she thinks the dorms are expensive. She also said she thinks construction should be limited to the summer because it will become annoying for residents.
“Or they should just pick good timings,” she said.
Ivana Djokovic, a graduate student in Instructional Technical Education, said the cost is for the location and not needing a vehicle, but just down the street, students are living for hundreds of dollars cheaper a month.
“That’s a big difference,” she said.
Her husband, Anthony Wendling, disagreed with Djokovic on the pricing, saying the proximity and the newness are certainly positives, noting that residents of new dorms “don’t have to worry about last year’s brother in there who didn’t shower for a couple weeks.”
“I think (the pricing is) pretty standard for most colleges,” he said.
Hernandez said it has been an interesting process watching the new buildings go up. The big change, she said, is when the outside is constructed. Now, most of the construction is being done on the inside, and while it might not be impressive from the outside, for those who get to see the inner construction, she said the progress is easy to see.
“You see the walls going up and the plumbing going in and the electric and etc.,” she said.
The construction for the building is precast, meaning the outer pieces are made at the construction company, in this case FINFROCK in Orlando, and then transported to the site.
For students who may be interested in seeing this process, Hernandez said housing has a trip planned to take students to tour the plant in Orlando on Feb. 24. The link to apply for the trip can be found on the housing Facebook page. The tour leaves at 8 a.m. and returns at 5 p.m., with transportation and lunch provided.
The next halls to open up will come in fall of 2018. Those halls will be called Horizon, Pinnacle and Endeavor. The grand opening for Summit and Beacon is Aug. 17.