FAMU to buy housing north of campus

The intersection of Conklin and Eugenia streets. Photo courtesy: WCTV.TV

Florida A&M University is trying to address the lack of on-campus housing by expanding to areas north of the campus. FAMU plans to purchase properties on Conklin and Eugenia streets and Rattler Court.

The FAMU Board of Trustees approved this proposal last month and allowed President Larry Robinson to seek approval from the federal Department of Education to begin negotiations for the properties.

The lack of on-campus housing comes from the increase in first-year students, transfer students and upperclassmen who find that on-campus housing is less expensive than off-campus housing.

William Hudson, vice president of Student Affairs, addressed this issue in particular in a meeting with the FAMU Board of Trustees.

“This move is part of the master plan and the continuing effort to provide affordable housing,” Hudson said. “We are planning for the future.”

During the BOT meeting, Robinson also stressed the importance of this expansion in terms of the presence of the university in Tallahassee.

“For years, we have been trying to figure out a way to give FAMU a presence in the northwest area near the train tracks where development has occurred,” Robinson said. “This will give us a footprint beyond our present campus boundary. It is a highly visible and very productive area of the community.”

The areas included in this purchase house up to 75% of FAMU students already.

Jordan West, a fourth-year pre-physical therapy student from Atlanta, is one such student who currently lives on Conklin Street.

“I feel as though FAMU expanding towards Conklin will not really make a huge difference for students or the campus because the majority of the residents are already FAMU students,” West said. “But I do feel it will be a way for FAMU to make more money.”

Mitchell Evans, an MBA candidate at FAMU from Ellenwood, Ga, is also a Conklin Street resident. He said that he hopes this expansion does not negatively affect the current residents who live here.

“During my time staying here, I have grown to love this community and its easy access to campus,” Evans said. “Many other apartments around the city have raised prices and I couldn’t imagine moving.”

Evans believes that the lack of on-campus housing has to do with the university’s past decisions.

“I think housing problems have stemmed from the university’s strategic plan,” Evans said. “There are other areas surrounding the university that are viable options for housing and in just the last two years FAMU has torn down two of their housing complexes.”

West seconds this but says that there could be a positive side to it.

“The only way to help this issue will be for FAMU to build more housing around the university,” West said. “On the other hand, it may help a few more students gain easy access to housing in the meantime.”

If the negotiations and purchase go through, FAMU will be able to lease to students as early as the spring of 2023.