USF St. Petersburg Celebrates New Residence Hall and Dining Facility at Groundbreaking Ceremony

Groundbreaking Ceremony

Sarah Stanaland, RHA President; Martin Tadlock, Regional Chancellor of USFSP; Stephanie Goforth, USFSP Campus Board Chair; Judy Genshaft, USF System President; Jacob Diaz, Regional Assistant Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students; and Ryan Toth, Regional Director of The Beck Group break ground on the new residence hall and dining facility.

(April 25, 2019) – More than 200 faculty, staff, students and community leaders gathered Thursday for a ceremony to mark the groundbreaking of the new residence hall and dining facility at USF St. Petersburg (USFSP).

“This is much more than a facility,” Regional Chancellor Martin Tadlock told the assembled crowd. “It will be a place where students hang out in the first-floor lounge, study together, learn from each other, grab a bite to eat and plan a future filled with hope and a promise for a sustainable future and a better tomorrow. “

The noon event was held at the construction site on 3rd Street S between 5th and 6th Avenues S. Included in the crowd were members of senior leadership from the USF System, as well as community leaders and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman.

In her remarks, USF President Judy Genshaft called the 375-bed facility “transformational” and said it was a good example of the benefits of the ongoing USF System consolidation.

“This project was made possible by leveraging the revenues derived from USF Tampa’s current student housing,” said Genshaft. “Clearly, by working together, we are able to best meet the needs of our students and drive continued economic development in all of our communities.”

Once complete, the new residence hall will expand available on-campus housing by nearly 70 percent. The facility will also house the campus’ first full-service dining facility, which accommodates 400. Construction is expected to be finished by July 2020.

The Beck Group, the Dallas-based architect for the project, provided more than 300 virtual reality goggles for ceremony attendees so they could take a virtual tour of the new facility using their smartphones.

“This is an exciting time for the University of South Florida and we’re honored to play a role in helping grow the community on the St. Petersburg campus,” said Joe Harrington, Principal Architect at The Beck Group.

The Beck Group is seeking LEED gold certification for the facility from the U.S. Green Building Council to align with USF St. Petersburg’s emphasis on sustainability. If certified, it would be the fourth USFSP building to earn gold certification, while the Warehouse Laboratory, which houses biology, chemistry and physics labs, received the highest certification of LEED platinum, the first building in the USF System to receive the recognition.

Stephanie Goforth, Chair of the USFSP Campus Board and a member of the USF Board of Trustees, told the crowd that the new residence hall was an important step forward in the university’s evolution and will boost the university’s continued efforts to improve student success. The new residence hall will expand on-campus housing capacity to more than 20 percent of overall student enrollment.

“Studies have shown that residential students are more invested and involved in campus life, are more likely to be satisfied with their university experience and persist and progress at a higher rate than those who don’t get the opportunity to live on campus,” Goforth said.

The rooms in the residence hall will be suite style in configuration, with about 60-75 percent being four-bed, two-bath single occupancy units. The remainder will be two-bed, one-bath double-occupancy units. Approximately 30-40 of the single occupancy units will be designated “flex” units, which are capable of converting to double-occupancy. The design will include a student lounge and study room on each floor, as well as a community laundry space. The first floor will house a spacious communal kitchen as well as a large lounge with multiple areas to congregate, study and hang out.

Demand for student housing has been steadily increasing in recent years, said Jacob Diaz, Regional Assistant Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students at USFSP. The new residence hall will help offset that, and will give the university the opportunity to expand curriculum targeted to residential students.

“The students who live here will experience community, build relationships with one another and foster memories that will last a lifetime,” said Diaz. “For us, being able to say we can offer housing will help families and loved ones feel a sense of security knowing that their student will reside on campus with resources devoted to their short- and long-term success.”