Housing renovations underway

Plans to renovate several of the dormitories and apartments on campus are now a work in progress.

FAMU has partnered with a private building consultant firm, Management of America. The private building company has provided a plan called the M.G.T. study, which outlines a 10-year renovation plan for the University’s housing complexes.

Before the renovations can take place, appropriate funding is required, and a request for a specific amount of funding must be approved by the state. M.G.T. consultants provided a plan to present to the Board of Trustees, which was approved. The only part missing is the financial part, said Henry L. Kirby, dean of student affairs.

The key to moving forward is acquiring funding for the project, explained Oscar L. Crumity, interim housing director. Part of the bond process is getting the states approval. FAMU is requesting $30 million dollars for the renovations.

Many faculty members and students are very supportive of the dormitory renovations.

“I am entirely for the renovations. I have been here for 25 years, and supervisor on and off for 12 years, and the sheer nature of time demands the need for new facilities,” Kirby said.

“I am glad FAMU has decided to begin the renovations. I think more students will want to live in the dorms and enjoy dorm life once the facilities are in better condition,” said Wynneshia Boyd, a 22-year-old criminal justice student from Heidelberg, Germany.

The majority of dormitory complaints derived from residents in the Paddyfote complexes, the newest traditional dorm, which was built in 1967.

Crumity explained the significance of viewing each student as a valued customer and how part of a positive college experience includes living conditions and the surrounding environment.

“No student should live in any environment that affects their quality of life. Once you recruit a client, you must do something to retain them, and customer service is key,” Crumity said.

Some students feel the renovations are well overdue and the students who stay on campus deserve them.

“It is about time FAMU uses their funds for something positive and beneficial to its students, and students who stay on campus deserve to be accommodated appropriately,” said Efrem Knight , a 21-year-old psychology student from Miami.

Crumity explained that the renovations would be more accommodating to students, and would include: new bathrooms, modern showers, sinks and tile with one person to a room.

The renovation of the Paddyfote complex, which will be re-modeled into a suite-style facility, is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2005.

A major concern for students is whether being displaced will be an inconvenience when the renovations begin.

“The displaced students comfort level should go up because they will be placed in better facilities leased by the University,” Kirby said.

Students living in the Paddyfote complexes were originally told that they would be re-locating to a different housing facility during the beginning of the fall semester. However, because of the recent hurricanes and financial difficulties, Crumity suggested to former President Gainous that those plans not be put into action.

“After having 25 years of experience with construction projects, there are always delays. But you can’t control nature,” Kirby said.

According to Crumity, the dorms that need renovations the most are Palmetto North, Gibbs Hall and Paddyfote.

“Gibbs Hall is a good traditional hall, but renovating it into a suite-style living facility would better accommodate students with more privacy in their living space and bathroom facilities,” he said.

In August 2009, Gibbs Hall will be renovated three floors at a time. A long-term renovation goal for the Palmetto housing facilities will be two additional phases – VI and VII. Phase VI will be built apartment-style, and Phase VII will be built suite-style. With these renovations, the Palmetto housing complex will have the capacity to house 1,100 students.

The University houses 3,360 students on campus. But in 2015, with the completion of the renovations, the University will be able to house 4, 231 students.

Contact Lauren Walker at famuanlifestyles@hotmail.com