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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Take a look at the future of student housing at USFSP

A rendering of the planned 550-bed housing complex at USF St. Petersburg, which is pending approval.

USFSP

A rendering of the planned 550-bed housing complex at USF St. Petersburg, which is pending approval.

As plans for a new 550-bed housing complex take shape, USF St. Petersburg hopes to increase its residential foothold downtown and evolve beyond its “commuter campus” image.

After hours of deliberation, a university committee settled on a proposal from EdR, favoring the developer’s design. At this point, all plans for the lot at Fifth Avenue S and Third Street S are pending trustees’ approval.

The new, 10-story building will double existing housing, which is at 112 percent capacity (the university has turned singles into doubles and doubles into triples to help with demand, and has even secured rooms in the downtown Hilton for students). It’s a critical expansion as affordable housing downtown becomes even harder to find.

“It’ll double the population of our residents, and that’s huge,” said Joe Trubacz, regional vice chancellor of administration and finance. “That means a lot more students staying in the city and nearby, so I think it will add to the flavor of the changing environment of St. Pete.”

The university hopes to get the all-clear from trustees this summer before taking plans to the Board of Governors in late fall. From there, it will take up to 20 months to build. USFSP hopes to have students in the hall in August 2019.

As plans stand now, the first floor will have a dining hall (about 15,000 square feet) and some administrative space. Floors two through nine will house both underclassmen and upperclassmen, and will feature small hangout spaces.

A 23,000 square foot conference center on the top floor will house events. USFSP hopes the space will attract conferences, meetings and other rentals. There will also be four or five large meeting rooms and an executive-style meeting room.

“The way they designed it, almost everyone will have a good view either of the harbor or downtown St. Petersburg,” Trubacz said.

The partnership is public-private, meaning that EdR will secure a long-term ground lease before building and operating the facility. After some time -- 40 years is the plan now -- EdR will turn the complex over to USFSP. Details are still being hammered out.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 10, 2017 11:19pm]

    

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