As a part of the final phase of the construction of the FAMU Villages, gates have officially been installed.
The first phase of the FAMU Villages was completed when the 800 bed, suite-style residence hall officially opened for the Fall semester of 2014. Past leadership of FAMU had the intentions of expanding the campus further East towards Adams Street, so the installation of the gates serve as an extra security measure to keep residents safe.
During the construction phase of “The Villages,” FAMU Police Department also recommended that there be gates installed at the residence hall. The hall is on the outskirts of campus and lies almost directly in the local neighborhood. This was not an issue for other resident halls since they are placed towards the core of campus with the exception of Palmetto South and Phase III which are gated along Adams Street.
Interim Director of Facilities Planning and Construction, Craig Talton, further explains the purpose of the gates. “We just wanted to give the students and the parents a sense of security by putting a decorative gate around so just not anybody from the neighborhood or off campus can gain access to the dormitories without going through the main entrance and having permission,” said Talton.
Before the gates were installed, FAMU PD would regularly patrol the area to ensure the safety of the residents, but former FAMU Villages resident, Kimesha Barnes, identifies another safety concern.
“When I was living there, even the back doors used to be propped open; so even if you didn’t have a key, the backdoors were always open. So anyone who had bad intent could have easily got in…”
Talton explained that once operating, only residents of the FAMU Villages will be able to gain access to the resident hall through their Rattler Cards. He also assures that students are free to come and go as they please as the gates are meant to keep them protected, not lock them in.
The fact of non-students wandering on campus in not a new issue being that FAMU has always been an open campus. But many do not see this as an issue at all. Events such as Set Friday have opened FAMU’s campus to everyone from local residents and merchants to students from neighboring universities. Four-year campus resident and two-year Sampson resident assistant, Jason Moody, had this to say in response to the idea of FAMU possibly becoming a closed campus.
“Everyone knows FAMU, everybody loves FAMU and whether you are a Rattler or not people want to be a part of it. So I just want to make sure that the people that do come on campus are not trying to harm us but I do not want to close it off to people entirely.” Moody said.
The gates have been installed at the Perry Street entrance and at the two entrances leading to the Bragg Memorial Stadium parking lot. Parking in the FAMU Villages is designated for residents only and the housing department will have control over when the gates are closed.