FAMU: No cost increase for on-campus housing

Dorm demolition is underway near The Set.
Photo Submitted by Kayla Lawson.

Florida A&M University Housing hosted a meeting on Feb. 19 for students, residents and staff to discuss the 2019-2020 rental rates for on-campus residence halls.

There are approximately 2,547 students living on campus, a .61 percent increase from the 2017-2018 school year.

This past year brought many new developments to on-campus housing, such as the start of demolishing Diamond, McGuinn, Cropper, and Wheatley to break ground for a new amphitheater, the removal of Palmetto apartments 156 and 158, and renovations to Palmetto North apartments. There are also plans for a new residence hall in the current location of the parking lot by B.L. Perry.

This new residence hall is anticipated to be open in August 2020, and the signing of the loan for this facility is expected to occur at the FAMU Board of Trustees meeting next week.

The rental rate for this new facility is expected to be approximately $3,577 per semester, similar to FAMU Village’s cost of $3,740, and there are talks of making this residence hall primarily for upperclassmen due to the distance from many of the main buildings on campus.

It was also decided that there would be no increase in rental rates for campus housing in the coming year.

In addition to the new residence hall, there may also be a new dining facility, and a postal center.

“We are mindful of some of the things that are lacking down here and trying to plan for those as we build new facilities,” said FAMU’s Director of Housing Jennifer Wilder.

In regards to finances, bond payments will be made on the first of January and July for the previous renovations of FAMU Village and Sampson and Young Halls.

Sampson and Young’s payments will end July 1, 2030 and Village’s bond payments will end July 1, 2032.

After the bond payments have been completed, no solid plans have been made as to where the new increase in funds would go, but Wilder says most likely towards programming, events, maintenance, utilities, etc. because University Housing has self-generated revenue and does not receive state appropriations. Some of that money could even be used to build new facilities.

“A facilities assessment was done last year and they gave us a list of things to do in each building so we can prioritize the tasks. Due to emergency instances, some priorities may shift. Safety comes first, and based on the money we have, we will determine what we can accomplish,” Wilder said.

All residence halls will receive maintenance over the summer, but Palmetto South, Gibbs, and Paddyfote will be closed for that maintenance.

Assistant Director of Housing Dr. Turner stated he would like students to be on the look out for the department’s end of year survey to be released towards the end of March or beginning of April.

Turner also stated, “Your feedback matters, we want to make sure we’re taking you into account and serving your needs at all times.”