By Delaney Brown and Whitney Elfstrom
Ready to shake off its commuter campus reputation, USF St. Petersburg is tackling its last barrier with the third and largest residential building.
Tentatively planned to be on Sixth Ave. S., between Third and Fourth St. S., the 10 story $49.5 million residence hall will be the tallest building on campus.
Housing 550 beds and a new cafeteria-style dining hall it will alleviate the strain on the school’s two existing residence halls, which are at 112 percent capacity.
If approved by Florida Board of Governors in two weeks, the project is expected to be completed by fall 2019.
In an effort to diversify housing options on campus, the new dorm primarily includes suite-style options. These units will have four beds per unit but may be split into single and double-occupancy units, each including living areas. Though there will be no in-suite kitchens, the developers are looking into communal kitchens on each floor.
The original plans included a conference center on the top floor, but the idea was scrapped amid budget concerns.
The new dorms’ rates are expected to be similar to University Student Center and Residence Hall One, which are listed at $4,600-$4,800 per semester, according to the latest projected housing rates. Though Residence Hall Hilton is expected to come offline in fall of 2019, students living there would experience a price reduction.
The project is a public private partnership (P3), which allows the university to undertake the construction of the project with minimal risk and financial impact.
The university will pay EdR approximately $23 million over the course of 40 years in exchange for EdR providing the upfront capital.
In exchange for underwriting the major construction costs, EdR will receive a 40 year lease of the land, as well as management rights.
Sodexo, a food service provider under contract with the university, will assume the $6 million cost of building the new dining facility, while EdR will provide the remaining funds.
EdR will also assume management of all existing residential projects, including RHO and the USC.
The push for the new residence hall came amid a surge in enrollment. University projections expect student population to reach 4,222 full time undergraduates by 2025. Current infrastructure has failed to meet the growing demand for on-campus housing.
52 percent of students surveyed by the university said the availability of on-campus housing was an important decision in deciding to attend USFSP. Affordability of on-campus housing was another major consideration.
Tadlock acknowledged the need for affordable housing options.
“We know there is a direct link between the number of students who live on campus and the number of students who complete their degrees and graduate on time,” said Martin Tadlock, interim regional chancellor in a written statement. “Residential life leads to greater student success.”
Pictured Above: A rendering of the planned 550-bed housing complex, which is pending approval from the Florida Board of Governors. Courtesy of USFSP