USF Sarasota-Manatee campus breaks ground on first-ever student housing

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Florida Construction News staff writer

Construction is underway for the first-ever student center and residence hall on the University of South Florida’s Sarasota-Manatee campus, launching a new era for USF’s home along Sarasota Bay and the surrounding community.

The six-story, 100,000-sq. ft.d building along the south side of the campus courtyard, is expected to open fall 2024, with space for about 200 students.“This project represents a significant milestone in the University of South Florida’s history and signals our commitment to the expansion of the Sarasota-Manatee campus,” USF President Rhea Law said at a groundbreaking ceremony in early March. “We’ve made it a priority to increase student housing at USF because we know that living on campus can raise academic performance, support student retention and create a stronger sense of community.

“This new facility will transform the student experience by providing more opportunities to get involved, connect with peers and build long-lasting relationships.”

It’s the first major expansion of the campus since the opening of the Crosley Campus Center 17 years ago.

Highlights of the $42 million project:

  • It is being constructed along Seagate Drive, just west of the existing Selby Auditorium and Crosley Campus Center.
  • The first two floors will include a ballroom, dining facilities, a bookstore, lounges, meeting space and offices for USF World, student government and other organizations.
  • Architectural features in the student center portion will include large windows allowing students and visitors to look out toward Sarasota Bay and Longboat Key.
  • The top four floors will include residences in various configurations.

The USF Board of Trustees and the State University System of Florida Board of Governors approved construction of the new building last year.

The new building will be topped by the first-ever residence hall on the Sarasota-Manatee campus, but the first two floors also will provide new, larger homes for several services now scattered in smaller spaces, in a central student center.

Also, the new dining hall will be considerably larger than the current café, which will soon be renovated into a teaching kitchen for the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

A second campus expansion project in development is a $62 million Nursing/STEM building being planned and designed for a spot across the campus courtyard from the student center and residence hall.

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