Showing posts with label housing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label housing. Show all posts

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Alexander, Montford bill aims to make FAMU eligible for HBCU Capital Financing Program

A bill on “Postsecondary Revenue Bonds and Debt” by Rep. Ramon Alexander, D-Tallahassee, and Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee recently passed both chambers of the Florida Legislature and is now on Gov. Rick Scott’s desk.

If the governor signs it, Florida A&M University will become eligible for the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Capital Financing Program.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the program "has provided more than $2-billion to 45 HBCUs to finance or refinance capital projects." It offers the financial support for such projects through loans.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

BOT to vote on replacing McGuinn, Cropper, Diamond, Wheatley with new 700-bed facility

The Florida A&M University Board of Trustees is set to vote on plans to demolish Wheatley, Cropper, Diamond, and McGuinn Halls and replace them with a new 700-bed facility.

All four dormitories have been offline since Fall 2014, when FAMU Village opened. FAMU Village replaced the previously demolished Polkinghorne Village and has 800 beds.

The predevelopment agreement approved by the FAMU Board of Trustees (BOT) Budget, Finance and Facilities Committee yesterday states that the project will provide “the construction of a student housing facility containing approximately 700 beds, and a dining facility containing approximately between 6,000 and 8,000 square feet of usable space (“Phase 1A”).” The full FAMU BOT will vote on the agreement today.

Monday, February 19, 2018

5,681 beds coming to off-campus student housing market within 5 miles of FAMU

Map from Novogradac & Company study
Off-campus housing will play a big role in helping Florida A&M University as it continues to expand its student numbers. FAMU plans to enroll 10,409 students in Fall 2018 and even more in the coming years.

A December 1, 2016 report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Policy Development and Research stated that “the student housing apartment market segment currently is tight, with a 2.6-percent vacancy rate, with units built since 2010 having a vacancy rate of less than 1 percent.”

Much more off-campus housing is now under development. Novogradac & Company presented a housing study to FAMU in 2016. The study said that 5,681 beds are in the pipeline for the off-campus student housing market within five miles of the FAMU campus. A total of 1,906 were in the FAMU Primary Market Area of less than half a mile to the campus.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

FAMU opening Foster-Tanner building to off-campus students who need a storm shelter

Earlier this week, Gov. Rick Scott directed all public K-12 schools, state colleges, state universities and state offices to close Friday, September 8 – Monday, September 11 as Florida braces for the arrival of Hurricane Irma.

Florida A&M University is opening its Foster-Tanner Band Rehearsal Hall to students who live off campus and need a storm shelter. The university will begin accommodating them at the facility beginning today, Saturday, September 9 at 2:00 p.m.

The off-campus students must bring their Rattler IDs and are being asked to bring their own blankets and pillows due to the fact that FAMU has a limited number of cots. Off-campus students are permitted to bring their children, however they will be responsible for their supervision.

FAMU will accommodate the dining needs of as many students as it can.

The university will also use Gaither Gymnasium to house possibly hundreds of U.S. Army soldiers who have been assigned to assist Florida in recovering from Irma.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Enrollment growth necessary to repair FAMU’s dorm bond rating and replace Palmetto North

Lots of FAMUans publicly spoke out with their concerns about the slow administrative response to the problems Rattler students found at the Palmetto Street North Apartments on move-in day back on Tuesday, August 24. But some defenders of former President Elmira Mangum used that moment to spread more bogus information similar to what was on the discredited 2016 online petition that demanded a contract extension for her.

One untrue claim that circulated on the unofficial “FAMU Alumni” Facebook group was that Mangum wanted to replace Palmetto North, but Interim President Larry Robinson threw out those plans and just decided to keep that complex on an indefinite basis.

Robinson has said that he wants to tear down and replace Palmetto North. University officials told WJXT-4 in Jacksonville that the interim administration aims “to replace the 45-year-old dorms with new facilities as a long-term solution.”

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Robinson: Getting it right at Palmetto North

By Larry Robinson, Ph.D.
Interim President of Florida A&M University

Since our founding in 1887, FAMU has dedicated itself to fulfilling its motto “Excellence with Caring.” And while our legacy is filled with great achievements and a reputation for a premier student experience, we are a human institution that sometimes has missed the mark. However, even in those moments, we have always found a way to make excellence a priority, and not lose sight of our commitment to caring.

While 2,088 students moved in on time to eight of our other housing facilities without any major issues, we fell short at Palmetto North with delays and outstanding renovations.

Although last week’s unfortunate move-in delay for our new students assigned to Palmetto North was not our best day as a University, we took immediate corrective action and within 72 hours were able to resume normal operations with the help of the entire University community, including alumni and students.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

More than 2,000 freshmen move-in to FAMU residences

Last week, more than 2,000 freshmen moved into housing facilities across the Florida A&M University campus. Hundreds of students, alumni, university officials, staff, faculty, and volunteers worked together to help our students get settled and ready for the start of the academic year.

There are nine on-campus residences at FAMU: FAMU Village, Gibbs Hall, Paddyfote Complex, Sampson Hall, Young Hall, Truth Hall, Palmetto North, Palmetto South, and Palmetto Phase III.

On Tuesday of last week, dozens of students assigned to Palmetto North found their rooms filled problems such as mold, holes in the wall, leaks, and malfunctioning door locks. The university released a statement on Thursday saying that it had placed 45 students and some of their parents in hotels at FAMU’s expense and had delayed the move-in date for other students who were slated to live in Palmetto Street North.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Robinson apologizes to FAMU students, families for Palmetto North problems

Yesterday, Florida A&M University Interim President Larry Robinson made rounds with the major Tallahassee media organizations to apologize for the unacceptable conditions that dozens of students found at the Palmetto Street North Apartments during move-in day on Tuesday.

“The first thing is I apologize to them personally,” Robinson told WCTV-6 when asked what message he wanted to give the students and their families. “Let them know that this wasn’t FAMU’s best day.”

Robinson also spoke with WTXL-27, the Tallahassee Democrat, and WFSU.

According to the Democrat, “students arrived Tuesday to rooms reeking of mold and mildew, safety issues with doors and left behind construction debris.”

Friday, August 25, 2017

Robinson lacks leadership on housing crisis

Interim President, Larry Robinson's voice, has been eerily silent as the university scampers to find permanent housing for over 100 freshmen students who were scheduled to stay in Palmetto North.  Earlier this week when students and their parents arrived at move-in, they  were shocked to learn that their rooms, for which they paid $2,719 each for the right for four people to share a two bedroom apartment were not ready.  Students and parents alike complained that the apartments they were assigned were mold infested, had mildew and issues with doors, and other issues.  

Instead of addressing these new Rattlers and their families directly Robinson has left housing director Jennifer Wilder and student affairs VP William Hudson to face angry parents and students seeking answers and solutions.


“We did the best job we could to make it right,” Wilder said of the full-court press to get Palmetto North ready for students this fall as she addressed a group of about 50 parents and students.  “We are looking to make it right. I apologized, and Dr. Hudson apologized for the experience they are having,” she added.



Monday, October 31, 2016

Moody’s downgrades FAMU dormitory bond rating, cites Mangum’s enrollment decline

The millions FAMU lost in tuition and fees due to declining enrollment under former President Elmira Mangum has now played a big role in hurting the school’s dormitory bond rating.

Last week, a press release by Moody’s Investors Service announced the company’s decision to downgrade to “Baa1” FAMU’s $38 million Series 2012A Dormitory Revenue Bonds issued by the Division of Bond Finance on behalf of the Florida Board of Governors. It reported that the “outlook is negative.”

Mangum began her presidency on April 1, 2014. Eight months later, on December 1, 2014, Moody’s gave FAMU an “A3” rating, which is one level higher than the new 2016 rating of “Baa1.”

Friday, August 22, 2014

Delay in opening FAMU Village’s sixth floor causes headaches for students

This week, hundreds of Rattler families arrived on campus for move-in day at the university’s newest housing facility, FAMU Village. But the students who were slated to move into the complex’s top floor will have to wait more than a week before they can get settled in their new home-away-from-home.

The sixth floor of FAMU Village remains offline due to what the Division of Student Affairs describes as construction-related delays. Officials expect it to be ready to open on September 2.

“The university whole-heartedly apologizes for any inconvenience caused to its students and parents as a result of the delay,” Vice-President for Student Affairs William Hudson said in a statement on the university’s website. “As Vice President of Student Affairs, I want to assure those who have been impacted that all moving expenses will be covered.”

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

New Polkinghorne Village on schedule for completion by summer 2014

FAMU Interim President Larry Robinson and Joe Kokolakis, CEO of J. Kokolakis Contracting, paused to commemorate the topping off a new 800-bed residence hall, located at 667 Gamble Street. The six-story 244,722-square-foot building is projected to cost $37.4 million and is slated for completion next summer.

“On-campus living is a staple in the college experience for several reasons. Students who live on campus tend to be more engaged in the college experience,” said Robinson. “The convenience of being close to their classes, the library and dining services all contribute to an environment that allows students to establish a sense of community and focus on excelling in the classroom.

Robinson and Kokolakis donned aprons and served lunch to the 200 construction workers in appreciation for their efforts to build a quality facility on time and on budget.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

FAMU makes way for new Polkinghorne

FAMU President James H. Ammons personally initiated the demolition of the old Polkinghorne Village yesterday with a series of mallet blows to the roof and exterior wall.

Polkinghorne, which has been closed since 2004, sits next to the Student Services Center and Bragg Memorial Stadium. The old building is being completely torn down to make way for a brand new facility.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Renovations make Sampson, Young as good as new

Yesterday, FAMU released photos of the newly renovated Sampson and Young Halls. The two buildings have brand new furniture, carpet, floor tiles, and paint jobs. They also have new electrical wiring, fire sprinklers, and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems.

On September 19, 2010, Rattler Nation broke the news that FAMU had received a $700,000 federal grant to help renovate Sampson. University officials secured bonds to cover the rest of the costs associated with bringing Sampson and Young up to code.

Sampson and Young's reopening will add 208 beds to campus, bringing FAMU's total to 2,692. Residents of the two dormitories will live in close proximity to the Student Services building, Coleman Library, and Bragg Memorial Stadium.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

FAMU to save $20M by adding two stories to Polkinghorne plans

FAMU will save $20M on the estimated cost of the new Polkinghorne Village by adding two floors to the apartment complex, making it a six story building. The total price should be approximately $43M, down from the original budgeted figure of $63M.

The two additional stories will shave costs by reducing the total number of buildings in the complex. That will generate even more savings by opening space to place the required storm water runoff controls on the property’s surface, as opposed to the more expensive option of using an underground system.

Polkinghorne, which has been closed since 2004, sits next to the Student Services Center and Bragg Memorial Stadium.

From DAG Architects:

The facility is intended to create a new campus gateway and promote positive patterns for future campus development. Based on a mixed use model, the design includes approximately 800 beds, several community rooms on each floor, and provides university use spaces at ground level.

Besides the spaces contained within the buildings, the buildings themselves shape a series of courtyard spaces culminating in a central plaza envisioned to become a hub of campus activities. These exterior spaces coupled with a large green space behind the dormitory provide great opportunities for student interaction and campus events.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

FAMU planning major changes to Palmetto South

FAMU officials are currently surveying the Palmetto Street South apartments for potential renovations and new construction.

During the recent Board of Trustees retreat, President James H. Ammons stated that the university might demolish and rebuild the complex, entirely.

Palmetto Street South opened in 1993 and has a capacity of 360 students. The complex consists of consists of four three-story brick apartment buildings. Currently, they house both male and female students in separate buildings. Each apartment suite contains two or three bedrooms with kitchen, dining/living room, bathrooms, and storage closet.

A separate Commons Building within the complex includes a laundry, vending area, office, and recreation/TV room and computer lab with wireless Internet connections.

FAMU’s 2004 Student Housing Comprehensive Plan stated that Palmetto Street South is in need of upgrades to its HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems. The piping and plumbing systems also need to be either upgraded or replaced.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sampson, Young renovations in high gear

Major renovations are underway at Sampson and Young Halls.

The two dormitories are getting new electrical systems, piping and plumbing, fire doors, and fire sprinklers. They will also be remodeled with better heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.

Sampson (1938) and Young (1929) Halls were both built during the Great Depression. FAMU closed the two dormitories in 2003 due to various building code violations.

On September 19, 2010, Rattler Nation broke the news that FAMU had received a $700,000 federal grant to help renovate Sampson. The university has secured bonds to cover the rest of the costs associated with bringing Sampson and Young up to code.

University officials hope to re-open the dormitories as soon as Fall 2011. The two halls will add 208 beds to campus. FAMU’s housing department currently has a total of 2,484 beds.

Former Vice-President of Student Affairs Roland H. Gaines and current Vice-President for Student Affairs William E. Hudson, Jr. have both stated that the expansion of on-campus housing will help improve FAMU’s six-year graduation rate. Campus housing helps students save money and afford more credit hours.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sampson, Young could reopen by Fall 2011

In a recent interview with the Tallahassee Democrat, FAMU Interim Vice-President for Student Affairs William Hudson, Jr. stated that he is optimistic that Sampson and Young Halls will reopen by the start of 2011-2012 school year.

FAMU closed the two dormitories in 2003 due to various building code violations.

Sampson (1938) and Young (1929) Halls were both built during the Great Depression. A 2003 FAMU housing study cited a number of serious problems in the two buildings that include: nonconforming fire doors, inadequate fire alarm systems, deteriorated piping and plumbing systems, insufficient electrical systems, and inadequate fire sprinkler protection.

On September 19, 2010, Rattler Nation broke the news that FAMU had received a $700,000 federal grant to help renovate Sampson. The university has secured bonds to cover the rest of the costs associated with bringing Sampson and Young up to code.

FAMU currently has only 2,484 on-campus beds for a student body of 13,284. Sampson would add 182 beds and Young would add 94, bringing the campus total up to 2760.

Re-opening Sampson and Young would likely give a boost to FAMU’s six-year graduation rate. Housing helps students afford more credit hours by cutting down the cost of living. Campus housing rental rates are usually much cheaper than private-owned apartments. Students also save money by using campus meal plans and walking to class instead of driving. That leaves them with more dollars to spend on courses.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

New Polkinghorne will become campus gateway

DAG Architects, a Destin, Florida-based company, has produced an early design for FAMU’s new Polkinghorne Village. The apartment complex, which has been closed since 2004, sits next to the Student Services Center and Bragg Memorial Stadium.

FAMU estimates the project will cost $63 million and be finished by Fall 2012.

From DAG Architects:

The facility is intended to create a new campus gateway and promote positive patterns for future campus development. Based on a mixed use model, the design includes approximately 800 beds, several community rooms on each floor, and provides university use spaces at ground level.

Besides the spaces contained within the buildings, the buildings themselves shape a series of courtyard spaces culminating in a central plaza envisioned to become a hub of campus activities. These exterior spaces coupled with a large green space behind the dormitory provide great opportunities for student interaction and campus events.

See more photos here.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

U.S. Interior Dept awards $700K to renovate Sampson Hall

FAMU has received a $700,000 federal grant to renovate George M. Sampson Hall.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that FAMU is one of the 20 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) that will be a beneficiary of $14.25 million for historic preservation grants aimed at providing assistance in the repair of historic buildings. The Department made these funds available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for projects that will repair and preserve campus buildings listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

“The recovery funds not only will restore historic buildings on these campuses but also will provide a boost to individuals and companies performing the repairs, college communities and related local economies,” Salazar said.

Architect Magazine reports that “From 1980 through 2006, the NPS granted roughly $3 million a year to HBCUs for preservation projects, but the grants required matching funds, which many schools failed to raise. U.S. Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) successfully pushed for increasing funding and easing the match requirements in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.”

Sampson, a campus dormitory, was constructed in 1938. It was closed in 2003 due to various code violations. A 2003 FAMU housing study cited a number of serious problems in the building that included: nonconforming fire doors, inadequate fire alarm systems, deteriorated piping and plumbing systems, insufficient electrical systems, and inadequate fire sprinkler protection.

Re-opening Sampson will add 182 beds to campus, which is likely to give a boost to FAMU’s six-year graduation rate. Housing helps students afford more credit hours by cutting down the cost of living. Campus housing rental rates are usually much cheaper than private-owned apartments. Students also save money by using campus meal plans and walking to class instead of driving. That leaves them with more dollars to spend on courses.

You might also be interested in: FAMU seeking federal grants to help renovate Sampson and Young