Construction expands student housing options

Students at Florida A&M will soon have more housing options. The Florida A&M University Board of Trustees approved a request on Thursday to enter into a financing agreement and begin construction on Sampson and Young Halls.

Roland Gaines, Vice President of Student Affairs, requested that the renovation of Sampson and Young Hall and the women’s complex to help accommodate the housing needs of students.

Gaines told the trustees having adequate on-campus housing would improve retention progression and graduation rates. He also said several freshmen had to live off campus this past year due to a lack of on-campus housing.

President James Ammons, who stayed in Young hall while in college, said construction will begin in July or August with an estimated completion date of August 2011.

In addition, the resolution also includes an 800-bed new facility that will be built at the site of the old Polkinghorne Village. The housing complex was originally constructed in 1967 for military veterans and for families. The co-ed apartments housed 146 families and is located behind the student services center.

“The projected date of completion for the 800-bed, apartment-style residential community is fall of 2012,” Ammons said.

Ammons said it would be similar to the arrangements at Palmetto.

He also said Polkinghorne will be completely torn down.

“It’s going to be a showcase for Florida A&M University students,” Ammons said.
Gaines said while Sampson and Young Halls will be male dorms with a combined 242 beds, the new housing facility will be co-ed.

Ammons said some space would be lost in Sampson and Young because of the renovations to the bathrooms and dorm rooms.

Ammons said these additions would increase enrollment because it will provide more space for freshman and returning students who want to stay on campus.

He also said this will increase enrollment, and students will be moved out of McGuinn, Cropper and Truth Halls so they can be renovated.

“We’ll have an opportunity to accommodate students, but this will also give us the opportunity to renovate or existing dorms,” Ammons said.

“I think remodeling Sampson and Young Hall with be great for our school, because it will give more freshman an opportunity to stay on campus,” said Naomi Chapman, a first-year pre-nursing student from Douglasville, Ga.

Chapman, who is also vice president of McGuinn and Diamond hall association, said she loves her dorm in McGuinn although she wouldn’t mind moving for renovation purposes.
“I think it’s time that McGuinn is shown some love too,” Chapman said.

Nayo Goldman, a first-year biology pre-med student from Dallas, said, “Renovating Sampson is a very good idea because there needs to be more males on campus, and more dorms for males to live in. Re-doing those dorms is very crucial because it’s very important freshman stay on campus.”

Goldman, who stays in Cropper Hall, said the hall needs to be renovated. She said the restrooms need to be fixed, and there’s mold in some of the rooms.