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BOG approves first Sarasota-Manatee residence hall

The Sarasota-Manatee campus will no longer be a commuter campus by fall 2024. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE/USF

After the Board of Governors (BOG) unanimously approved on Wednesday the construction of a housing and student center complex, USF Sarasota-Manatee will no longer be a commuter campus.

The additions will come as a single 100,000-square-foot building west of the Crosley Campus Center, according to the announcement. The first floor will be the student center, and the residence hall will make up the upper floors.

Groundbreaking is expected to come in the next few months, and its expected completion time is by fall 2024.

Up to 200 students will be able to live at the unnamed residence hall, with 70 double-occupancy rooms and 60 single. Living arrangements will vary from one-bedroom spaces to four-bedroom apartment-style layout.

President Rhea Law said the space will act as a stepping stone in increasing engagement and retention on the primarily commuter campus. With all the developments being made, including recent donations to the campus’ risk management school, Sarasota-Manatee is continuing to try to appeal to students.

“The new housing and student center is crucial to supporting the growth of the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee campus,” Law said in the release. “This new project will allow the campus to strengthen the overall student experience as it continues expanding its academic program offerings in high-demand fields.”

Expected costs of the building is approximately $39 million. The university will fund the project with $16.5 million up front, then the remaining funding will derive from the sale of up to $30 million in bonds through the USF Financing Corp.

Bonds used to fund the construction will be repaid with revenue from the USF Housing System. Activity and service fees collected on the Sarasota-Manatee campus will also cover $200,000 a year in costs.

The 32,000-square-foot first floor of the new building will house dining space, places to study and lounging areas to make up the student center.

The new building joins the already approved 75,000-square-foot Nursing and STEM building.

This $62 million infrastructure is in the planning and design stages at the moment, but Gov. Ron DeSantis approved an initial $3 million for it earlier this year.