Significant changes have arrived at The Village, the newest residential community on campus this semester, including three new residence halls and multiple new dining options. Living in The Village can range from $929 to $1,193 a month depending on size of room.
The three new residence halls include Horizon, Endeavor and Pinnacle, and will provide housing for about 1,000 students. New dining locations such as BurgerFi and Starbucks have been built to cater to the new population.
Ana Hernandez, assistant vice president of Housing & Residential Education, said she anticipates the updates to The Village will be a positive change.
“We think that living on campus is part of the full Bull experience,” Hernandez said. “Providing additional opportunities for returning students and first year students to be part of that community is really important for us.”
In order to feed the large influx of new students living in The Village, new dining locations have been built such as BurgerFi, a gourmet burger restaurant, Starbucks and revamped facilities for The Hub such as replacing the Fresh Food Company with Argos Exchange, a new type of resident dining hall.
“The dining partners that we have, which is Aramak for the campus, really take a closer look at the volume and flow of how students eat on campus,” Hernandez said. “We’re comfortable that given the population we have on campus, and given the expanded demand from our commuter students, we have plenty of dining that’s available.”
During the updates to The Village, some USF students grew concerned that perhaps these new residence halls may inflate the prices of rent across all of campus.
Trevor Deciccio, a resident of Holly Apartments, is conflicted about the changes to campus.
“I think these new halls are great, but not if they’re going to raise the rent in other places,” Deciccio said. “The rent has been on a slow rise the past few years, and it just doesn’t seem fair.”
However, Hernandez said the rising rent across the USF campus has nothing to do with the additions to The Village.
“The new Village is a private/public partnership, which was funded by an outside entity, our partners Capstone-Harrison Street,” Hernandez said. “The fact that The Village was built is not what is driving any costs up on the campus.”
The rising costs are a result of reinvesting resources into the buildings, according to Hernandez.
“The newest facility that we have besides The Village is Juniper-Poplar, which was built in 2009,” Hernandez said. The rest of the facilities still need to have that re-investment, so that’s really more the driver of the cost impact.”
For the 2018-19 school year, the lowest priced traditional style campus housing has increased from $695 a month to $735. The cheapest option for living within The Village is a double room in either Beacon, Endeavor, Horizon or Summit Hall for $929 a month, according to officially released 2018-2019 hall rates.
“We try to prioritize making sure that there are different types of housing that are available on campus, as well as price points so students can share their preference and what works best for them and what works best for their families,” Hernandez said.
As the new residence halls throughout The Village have been built, some students have also shown concern over a sense of favoritism and possible neglect of maintenance issues that may occur in older buildings.
Anna Weber, a resident of Castor Hall, expressed concern over how evenly distributed repair services may be.
“It’s kind of frustrating to hear about these new residence halls being built while there’s still so many issues in older ones,” Weber said. “I’d just like to think that would be dealt with first.”
Hernandez said favoritism toward The Village does not exist, and funds are equally distributed throughout all of USF’s residence halls to insure proper upkeep of services.
“We are always focused on trying to deliver the best experience we can in any of the facilities that we have here on campus,” Hernandez said. “Part of the vision of The Village was to replace some of the buildings that were over 50 years old, that just didn’t have the infrastructure that could support today’s students in a long run.”
Hernandez stated that the rebuilding process had already begun, with over 10 million dollars having been invested over the past few years into existing housing buildings on campus beyond the village.
With the new updates to the village entirely operational, concerned students living in other housing areas can only trust that the sleek design of The Village will eventually trickle down to their homes as well.
“While The Village is a wonderful place to be and is obviously the newest edition to the residential campus community, we want to make sure that people know that we want the full residential experience throughout campus to be high quality,” Hernandez said.