FAMU breaks ground on new residence hall

President Robinson and board members break ground on a new residence hall Wednesday afternoon.
Photo Submitted by Nya Ramirez.

FAMU President Larry Robinson and the Board of Trustees hosted a highly anticipated ground-breaking ceremony Wednesday afternoon for a 700-bed residence hall that is scheduled to open in August 2020.

Robinson, board members, Construct 2 group, student leaders, alumni and others were present at this momentous ceremony as FAMU continues to make strides to improve student life on campus.

“By the fall of 2020 we will have a new state of the art living space for our students, that will insure that they will continue to be successful. If you really want to get at the bottom line regarding this facility, it is to advance the success of our students. That’s what this all about,” Robinson said.

The housing project is expected to have two residential structures amounting to 183,496 square feet, with 366 units, 700 student beds and shared amenity spaces including kitchens, laundry, study areas as well as lounge and game rooms. The dormitory will be located on South Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. and Osceola Street on the southeast corner of the main campus.

Due to three residence hall closures that will take place next year, the new living quarters will replace beds for current and future students. Robinson said this project is the largest financial package — $125 million, which includes work on other residence halls — in the history of the program.

Robinson credited state Rep. Ramon Alexander and state Senator Bill Montford, both Democrats from Tallahassee, for sponsoring the legislation that enabled FAMU to obtain the funding for this project.

Lezli Baskerville, president and CEO of National Association for Equal Opportunity, also played a role in establishing the finances that will aid in building the dormitory. NAFEO represents all 166 historically black colleges that advocates for public funding

“But also working with corporations and foundations, telling the story about the centrality of HBCU’ to the success of the nation — and I am here President Robinson because wherever I go, when I start telling the story I start with FAMU,” Baskerville said.

“Studies prove that when students live on campus then most likely they perform better academically and have a better retention rate, so the fact that we’re bring additional areas for the students to be able to live on campus will ultimately benefit the student body— and students will be overall be happier,” student body president David Jackson lll said.

The new living space is contracted by FinFrock, which also worked on a housing project for USF in 2016. Finfrock is currently ranked No. 45 among the Florida Fast 100. 

Robinson says the $125 million-federal loan to address student housing projects will allow construction on the new residence hall to get underway in April.