The FAMU Housing department and some other construction companies are working diligently to renovate the Polkinghorne Village apartments for transfer students relocated to the University because of Hurricane Katrina.
The University must create additional housing for the new students. The Office of Public Affairs said approximately 75 students were relocated to FAMU from Tulane, the University of New Orleans, Dillard, Xavier, and Southern University.
“We are preparing spaces to accommodate up to 51 male students within Polkinghorne. We have sufficient female spaces within our existing facilities,” said Oscar Crumity, Interim Housing Director.
The University is not undertaking this project alone because many local corporations that have volunteered to help.
Kendall Jones, director of the FAMU physical plant, said, “This is a good humanitarian effort. Many of these companies that came together are competitors. This is a good example of the community coming together to help.”
The Ajax Building Corporation has committed around $20,000 in material and labor and about 300-400 man hours of planning and coordination.
“We were simply asked by the University for assistance. We see this as the perfect Public/Private initiative, especially considering the cause,” said Ted Parker, the director of community outreach for Ajax Building Corporation.
“We are helping individuals that have survived a calamitous situation. We see it as our duty to aid those who are in need,” he said.
In addition to Ajax, the Carrier Corporation donated 48 air-conditioning units, Home Depot donated electrical supplies, Nelson & Affiliates provided material and labor for installing drywall, RDS Drywell & Acoustics provided drywall finishers, J.H Dowling added lumber, TLC Engineering (basic engineering), Hicks Nations Architects, Joyner Electrics (electricians), Jimmy Wilson Painting (Painting) also gave their assistance.
Chambers Floor Coverings (Floor coverings), and countless other companies provided time, resources, and labor to the renovation project. “We have not received a complete accounting from the various contractors that have participated in the project. The money has not been a priority,” Parker said.
Parker said that what has been important however, are those people that need help who the University has been able to assist in finding stability.
The units in Polkinghorne closed in December 2004 because of low student occupancy and the need for renovations.
The current renovations are expected to be completed soon. Each unit is equipped to house three students. The units come furnished with three beds, student desks, living and dining room furniture, and a full sized refrigerator. As for now, no stoves are currently installed in any of the housing units
Students who are assigned to the apartments must have a meal plan and will be responsible for transporting themselves to the cafeteria.
Many displaced students are appreciative of the efforts of the University.
“I’d like to thank FAMU for all its assistance. I was able to get into the classes that I wanted to and my teachers have been very helpful,” said Marian Minias, an 18-year-old pharmacy student from New Orleans, La., who is a former Xavier University student. “
As a place of higher learning, we naturally opened our arms and welcomed the students to FAMU. Our challenge was providing them with shelter,” said Interim President Castell V. Bryant.
“We applaud the enthusiastic leadership of Ajax Building Corporation and the generosity of this entire team of vendors. They have made the needs of our new students their top priority,” Bryant said.
“So many FAMU fans throughout the country have also expressed a desire to help the victims of Katrina. Although these companies are donating labor and supplies, we still need cash donations to purchase additional materials to complete the housing project,” Bryant added.
Interested people can donate tax-deductible contributions to the FAMU Foundation.
For more information or to contribute, contact Interim Vice President Ronald Joe, FAMU Foundation, Inc. 850.599.3860.
The FAMU Foundation is a 501 © not-for-profit organization.
Contact Damion Warren at email@example.com