FAMU expected to get major upgrades

700-bed architectural drawing. Photo courtesy: www.famu.edu

Over the past several years, Florida A&M University has made several new construction changes across campus, including demolishing former residence halls Paddyfoote and Gibbs Hall.

Last year, the public HBCU opened a new parking lot for students on Wahnish Way adjacent to the Althea Gibson Tennis Complex. They also expanded parking spaces near the Bragg Memorial Stadium.

Now, in 2024, students are eager to know about the upcoming projects on campus and how this will impact the student body. Jaylan Fuller, a fourth-year health science major, says she hopes for more student parking spaces.

“I noticed some construction around the gravel parking lot by Towers,” Fuller said. “I hope they are making the area a more accessible parking lot for students because parking space is minimal for students on campus. This results in students having to park far and being late to class, or parking in areas they are not supposed to and getting a ticket.”

The gravel parking lot just north of the FAMU Towers, North and South of Osceola Street, has been closed since the beginning of the spring semester.

FAMU was approved last November to build a campus residence for freshman and scholarship students. The Florida Board of Governors (FBOG) unanimously approved for FAMU to seek $102.9 million toward the new student residence hall just north of the FAMU Towers North and South on November 9, 2023.

The new student residence hall is scheduled to be finished by August 2025, comprising 350 double occupancy bedrooms. According to FAMU, these rooms will increase the FAMU’s campus bedding by 26 percent.

Director of Facilities and Planning Craig Talton, discussed the new residence hall alongside a few other future projects.

“We will be building a new 700-bed dorm on the corner of MLK Jr. Blvd and Osceola Street,” Talton said. “This building will be identical to FAMU Towers, except that the building will have a brick veneer. The dorms will include 195 parking spaces and a courtyard area.”

Talton also disclosed a future project about a new 800-bed mixed-use Apartment complex.

“The Apartment Complex shall be no more than five stories with 800 beds including 1, 2, & 4-bedroom Suites with kitchenettes and bathrooms, “Talton said. “The complex will incorporate apartment-style student residence units utilizing a resident-to-bathroom ratio of no more than 2:1, preferably 1:1. Interior amenities for the complex may include but are not limited to common lounge spaces, study spaces, computer rooms, TV rooms, a market/convenience store, offices, gaming rooms, multipurpose, vending, laundry, and conference room.”

Talton also shared that the School of Architecture and Engineering Technology Renovation will conduct a project to relocate the construction engineering students to the Walter L. Smith School of Architecture. Construction engineering students will not be the only one’s relocating.

The Teleconference Center renovation has started and there are also plans to move the cooking lab from the Perry Page Building to the Teleconference Center. This will be conducted in two phases; first, the office space buildout, and second is the renovation of the kitchen area. Talton also says the old DRS media center is preparing for demolition, and they are relocating the power.

The Student Government Association (SGA) will also see a few new repairs in the future regarding the furniture within SGA offices, senate chambers, and shared space. Renovation will also occur in the SGA workroom with new office desktop computers.

Further future projects will occur for the WANM studio radio lounge located in the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication. It is expected to become a wholly digital environment space.

The SBI Bull and Bear lounge, will also have some upgrades, with the school planning to add computers, furniture, and charging stations.

Talton also mentioned future outdoor projects such as the intramural flag football scoreboards, FAMU Park beautification, and FAMU Pond Irrigation, alongside a New Student Union Fund.

Monique Brown, a fourth-year psychology student, believes the new projects have pros and cons.

“I am glad they are starting to build more student housing facilities, “Brown said. “However, taking away the parking lot near the Towers is not right. That parking lot is a necessity where you can find a spot anytime. FAMU is accepting more students bringing cars, which will only worsen the issue.”

Brown also mentions that she hopes the parking space added to the new dorming facility will be more than the total than before.

It is clear that FAMU will see some major upgrades in the upcoming years, and students cannot wait to see them.