FAMU hopes to add new modern student housing like the FAMU Towers, which opened in 2019.
Florida A&M University’s Board of Trustees on Wednesday, April 19 approved $11 million for architectural and other contracts that will set the stage for the University to move ahead with a plan to add 2,000 new on-campus beds over the next three years.
The $238 million initiative would be the most ambitious housing construction in the University’s 136-year history and increase on-campus housing to more than 4,600 beds.
“We have been working diligently and strategically to develop this plan,” said President Larry Robinson, Ph.D. “We are now in the implementation phase.”
FAMU’s housing master plan calls for Project A, a $59.7 million, 500-bed residence hall in the area occupied by Gibbs Hall/Paddyfote on Wahnish Way. Paddyfote was demolished in 2021, while Gibbs Halls is slated to be torn down this summer.
Project B is a $80 million, 700-bed residence hall at what is now the Osceola gravel parking lot. Project C is a $98.7 million, 800-bed mixed use apartment complex on what was the old Palmetto North site. The first of the new housing units would be available as early as fall 2025, officials said.
The move is part of the University’s Master Plan as a response to the need for new and additional housing to accommodate the increasing student demands for on campus housing following the sharp jump in rents for off campus apartment due to COVID-19 pandemic related inflation.
As part of the proposal, FAMU plans to seek funding from the HBCU Federal Loan Program. U.S. Department of Education’s Historically Black Colleges and University (HBCU) Capital Financing Program in Washington, D.C. Approval from the U.S Department of Education and the Florida Board of Governors is required before construction breaks ground.
“It’s exciting and history making,” said Vice President for Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer Rebecca Brown, who presented the proposal to the BOT.
In 2019, the University secured $125 million from that program to construct the 700-bed FAMU Towers. That loan was forgiven as part of congressional legislation in December 2020 as part of the CARES Act.
The three additional residence halls would increase the on-campus housing beds 4,684 beds, up from 2684 in 2023-24. During the current academic year, FAMU acquired two apartment complexes on the northern perimeter of the campus that added 234 beds of on campus housing.
In other Business:
The Board of Trustees approved a $1.1 million project to install new video scoreboards for Gaither Gymnasium and the Al Lawson Jr. Multipurpose Center. Work is scheduled to be completed by August 31, 2023.
Harper Elected Vice Chair
Trustee Kristin Harper was elected vice chair of the Board of Trustees to succeed Kim Moore, Ed.D., whose term end this spring. A two-time FAMU graduate, Harper is founder and CEO of Driven to Succeed, LLC, which provides market research, brand strategy consulting, keynotes and training on leadership and emotional intelligence for Fortune 500 companies and rising leaders. She was appointed to the BOT in October 2019.