Bill opens door to funding for new FAMU dorm

Photo Credit: FAMU Forward

To help address the infrastructure needs of Florida A&M University, Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill that will allow the university to seek federal funding for residential hall expansion on campus.

Scott signed the “Postsecondary Revenue Bonds and Debt Bill,” also known as Senate Bill 1712, on March 19. It will allow FAMU to seek financing for construction and renovations of facilities through the U.S Department of Education’s Historically Black College and University Capital Finance Program (USDOE).

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Ramon Alexander in the House and by Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, and Senator Perry Thurston, Jr., D-Fort Lauderdale in the Senate.

Through the University Capital Finance Program, it will provide low-cost capital to finance improvements and FAMU will be able to seek funding to construct a 700-bed residence hall on the southeast corner of the campus.

William Hudson Jr, FAMU’s Vice President of Student Affairs, said that with the help of the finance program, a new residence hall can enhance FAMU’s recruitment.

“Anytime you can provide state-of-the-art living and learning facilities, you can attract and retain the best and brightest students,” Hudson said.

The expansion of the residential halls will allow FAMU to provide students with a new facility and also enhance their experience while living on campus.

FAMU student Tatyiana Ward said she is looking forward to the new residence hall and its impact on campus life.

“With the expansion of housing, I am looking forward to seeing more students getting a chance to stay on campus allowing the campus life and experience to be revived and also more of a modern living style like residence halls,” Ward said.

Diamond Paulk, another FAMU student, hopes that with the new residential hall upperclassmen will not be subjected to limited availability of housing with an influx of students.

“As the incoming population of students steadily increases, I think it is important freshman are ensured on-campus housing without pushing upperclassmen aside. As a student on scholarship, I had to use a stipend for off-campus housing due to the dorm necessity for freshmen,” said Paulk.

To prevent upperclassmen students from having to relocate to off-campus housing, FAMU University Housing Director Jennifer Wilder said that by increasing the capacity of housing, students will have more opportunity to live on campus.

“Increasing our housing capacity provides the opportunity for us to house a greater percentage of upperclassmen than we currently house now. I think it is important for there to be a representation of all classes in housing to provide a balanced experience for all students. Additionally, it provides opportunities for upperclassmen to be role models and provide mentorship for underclassmen students,” said Wilder.

The plans for a new residential hall on campus developed after FAMU Board of Trustees approved a pre-development agreement earlier this month with a Central Florida Company called Construct Two Group.