Florida A&M University (FAMU) received a favorable vote that will allow the University to construct a new 700-bed residence hall with a dining facility. The residence hall will be located on the main campus and will consist of two (2) four-story “H-shaped” student residence buildings, each with an east and west wing, with 350 double-occupancy bedrooms (including shared bathrooms). The new housing facilities will include laundry facilities, vending areas, common student lounges, study rooms, recreation/TV/computer rooms, and administrative offices.
The State University System Board of Governors (BOG) approved a resolution that outlines how FAMU will finance the project, including participating in the U.S. Department of Education’s Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Capital Financing Program. The program will also provide funds to address the significant maintenance needs of older facilities. As a formality, the state’s Division of Bond Finance Board will need to adopt the resolution.
Earlier this year, the Florida Legislature amended legislation that paved the way for FAMU to participate in the federal program for the first time. The construction of the residence halls is estimated at a total cost of $60 million, which consists of $54.5 million for planning, equipment, soft costs, and building construction, $2.8 million for utility infrastructure and $2.7 million for a dining facility.
“Through the HBCU Capital Finance Program, we now have access to the lowest cost of funds available in the marketplace,” said FAMU President Larry Robinson, Ph.D. “The recent positive Board vote sends a strong message. By the fall of 2020, FAMU will be providing its students with additional 21st-century living and learning spaces that they so richly deserve.”
On August 27 and 28, Governors Jay Patel and Tim Cerio spent a day touring FAMU’s residence halls along with historic facilities after meeting with President Robinson, students, senior leadership and faculty. Staff provided an overview of the University’s Master Plan and the need to replace aging buildings with new facilities to accommodate demands for on-campus housing.
FAMU’s enrollment has increased steadily since the fall of 2016, and the need for additional living space is on the rise. According to University Housing, FAMU’s residence halls have 2,543 beds and can accommodate approximately 26 percent of the enrollment. The University’s goal is to increase that capacity to 3,600 beds to accommodate 30 percent of the student body by 2022.
Patel serves on the BOG’s Facilities Committee and expressed an interest in helping the state’s only public historically Black university expand its global reach and capacity.
“I’ve reviewed the concept with FAMU and the Board of Governors’ staff, and the University is in a good position,” said Patel, during his visit. “You have a beautiful campus. You have plenty of room to grow. I see the student activities. You have a master plan, and there’s a dire need to look at the future.”
Cerio serves on the BOG’s Budget and Finance Committee.
“The tour provided me with great insight regarding the need to expand FAMU’s student housing and upgrade infrastructure,” said Cerio. “Furthermore, with our Board’s focus on student achievement, the new 700-bed facility will do a great deal to assist in that effort. This is a great project for FAMU, and I applaud the efforts of President Robinson and his leadership team.”
Residence halls such as Palmetto North, Truth Hall and Paddyfote will be decommissioned with the opening of the new student housing and dining facility.