Students voice concerns over new building projects

Four dorms on FAMU's campus are being demolished.
Photo Submitted by Desmond Howard.

Another building is gone and some students are not pleased with the university’s upcoming changes.

Last spring the groundbreaking for the new Center for Access and Student Success building took place.

Last week, a piece of FAMU history was demolished, as four “historic” dorms –  Copper, Wheatly, McGuin and Diamond – face the wrecking ball. They are scheduled to be replaced by a new amphitheater.

Students have varying opinions on whether these new updates are as needed as the administration thinks they are.

CASS will replace one of the few student parking lots on campus – the lots between Gibbs Hall and Gaither Gymnasium. Replacing those parking lots is one of many major concerns for students.

“I honestly think it’s taking up unnecessary space. I understand the purpose behind it, but we already have those things or offices. Our needs aren’t begins thought of. What we need is more parking,” Cyara Bryant, a second-year pharmacy major, said. Bryant is one of many students who commutes to campus and has experienced first-hand the struggles of finding parking.

CASS will house the office of admissions, financial aid, academic advisement, career/counseling services and many more. The building will also permanently house the university’s one stop shop event that takes place at the beginning of each semester.

Just short of a week ago, demolition took place on older dormitories that many felt were part of the university’s rich culture.

The university’s administration decided on replacing the beloved dorms with a new amphitheater. Just before the process began a university spokesperson stated: “This will be a place where students can congregate and express their creativity and imagination.”

Alumna Tavaya Tate says she’s one of few students who believe both projects are great ideas.

“I absolutely love the idea of this amphitheater. It is sad that the dorms are gone but this is something we need too – a place to perform and be expressive."

During her time here Tate said she hated to have events and performances inside places such as Gaither.

“It was hard to see sometime and depending on the time of the year it would be either really hot inside or too cold.”

Tate, a former work-study student, said she was able to witness students refusing to use the services because of their current locations on campus. A lot of these offices and centers are currently housed on opposite ends of the campus, which is a concern of the university’s administration.

“In regards to the new student center I love the idea as well of centralizing the campus resources. From my experience when you have locations for important services like Trio, Center for Disability, Counseling Center, and all of those kinds of thing students don’t go when you put them in a far place, especially one that maybe unfamiliar to them that can be unattractive to students causing them to not to go,” Tate said.

One thing a majority of the student body can agree on is that building housing to accommodate the growing number of incoming freshmen each year and parking for those with vehicles are high priorities.

Shavontae Smith, a senior business administration major, believes housing is one the university’s biggest issues.

“I was unable to stay on campus my first year here because of the lack of housing. Having more dorms is what we need – not a theater of any kind.”

In recent years the university has removed its requirement regarding freshmen having to stay on campus for a year because of a lack of bed space in the dorms.

“Students need a place to live before they need a place to congregate. If anything they congregate outside their dorms,” Smith said.

Many students believe that housing and parking issues on campus are the top reasons for failure in the classroom, especially when it comes to attendance. Students have said that no matter how early you may leave home it’s still extremely difficult to find any reasonable parking on campus.

With the new CASS building being built on one of the bigger student lots on campus, many feel like they are put at more of a disadvantage.  

Outraged by CASS replacing a student lot, transfer student Cayla Cummings said there is one basic need: “More parking. It’s a shame that it’s a million students and have to basically fight for parking and if and when we do find parking it’s miles away from where we have to go.

“FAMU needs to spend money creating another parking garage. Parking at FAMU is ridiculous and parking services is quick with the tickets,” she added.