It has been almost a year and a half since the Florida A&M University housing department made the decision to close Sampson and Young halls. Today, the two traditional male dormitories, as well as Polkinghorne Village lie dormant on the west end of campus waiting for a decision to be made on their fate.
According to officials in the housing office, many ideas have been passed around as to what will become of the two historic buildings. Converting them into classrooms or into office space for professors were just some of the suggestions that were considered.
Interim Director of the Housing Department Oscar Crummity said Sampson Hall was closed because the fire marshall labeled it as an unsafe facility.
Sampson will remain closed due to the fact that the cost of renovating the building would exceed the cost of building a new dorm in its place.
Young Hall, the oldest of all the traditional male dormitories, can house students, but according to Crummity, the dorm falls short of what the University requires as a day-to-day living facility. Young is presently being used as a standby hall in case an emergency shuts down one of the other functioning dormitories.
Not all students are happy with the reported changes that will be made to the traditional dormitories.
Demetrius Crittenden, a physical therapy graduate student from Mobile, Ala. said he had some of the best times of his life in Sampson Hall and would hate to see it used as anything other than a residence hall.
“I’m deeply disappointed and saddened because that was thplace where I met some of my best friends, and it’s sad to think that future students won’t be able to have those same dorm experiences that we had,” Crittenden said.
Recently, the University made the decision to officially close Polkinghorne Village permanently.
The housing office has determined that Polkinghorne has outlived its usefulness to the University.
“The University will demolish Polkinghorne Village. Hopefully, that demolition will commence in December or early on in the spring semester,” Crummity said.
“The property is very old and it no longer meets our standards.”
Much like the two male dormitories, plans are still in the air as to what will happen to the area that Polkinghorne Village currently sits on.
The area has been seriously considered for the location of Palmetto Phase IV.
There has also been talk of turning the area into a parking lot for students and faculty.
Traditionally, Polkinghorne Village has been the designated location for on-campus family housing.
The families that were displaced due to the mid-semester closing have been redisbursed within Palmetto North and University Gardens.
The closing of three of the traditional living facilities is just the beginning of long term changes the University is taking in order to modernize on-campus housing at FAMU.
According to Henry Kirby, the dean of student affairs, in the years to come the University will construct three new housing facilities that will accommodate more than 1,000 students.
The new facilities will continue the trend of apartment-style living arrangements that FAMU has embraced for its students in recent years.
“Apartment-style housing offers more privacy for the students, and it has a better arrangement that is more conducive to a sound learning environment,” Kirby said.
He also that FAMU is trying to give the students a certain amount of privacy that would be relative to what they receive at home.
With the addition of the new housing facilities, FAMU will be able to provide its students with a solid mixture of traditional and modern living facilities.
Gibbs Hall and the traditional female dormitories will remain in full operation.
Kirby said, “The surveys that we have conducted show that the majority of students prefer the suite-style arrangements, but there is still a rather large minority that prefer the traditional arrangements so we are trying to keep a proper balance within the housing department.”
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