The newest additions to Florida Southern College’s housing complex are well underway in the East Lake Morton Historic District.
According to Terry Dennis, FSC’s vice president of finance and administration, the first building in the complex should be ready for students by August.
Now that permits for the site have been settled, concrete block and wood framing have begun to go up. While still unnamed, the trio of three-story buildings will house about 114 students.
The rooms are set up in suites with four single bedrooms, a shared living room and kitchen. Each student will have a private bedroom with EVA mattresses and two of the bedrooms will share a bathroom.
“I think we’ll have about 114 student beds available, and a police officer and a member of staff will also live there,” Dennis said. “The parking will be interior of the complex. We’re going to have iron fencing and a security fence all the way around it with an electronic gate, where you’ll use your student I.D. to enter through.”
Two buildings will face Ingraham Avenue and the other will face Lime Street. A vehicle entrance will be built along Walnut Street, and an entrance/exit will be on Lime Street, Dennis said. Residents will enter the apartments on Walnut street from the South or on Lime from the North.
“If all 115 students have cars there won’t be 115 spots, but there will be about 80-something in there, so there will be a good amount of spaces,” Dennis said. “There is some street parking around there, but you’ll park inside the complex and you will enter from the parking lot. You won’t be able to go into the building from Ingraham Street, you’ll go in through the parking lot.”
According to Dennis, there will be frequent shuttles coming to the apartments and outdoor and indoor bike racks for student use.
“It’s distance-wise, within a few feet of being exactly the same distance from campus as the Lake Morton Apartments,” Dennis said. “Perception is, it may seem father, but we did measure and it’s about a 10 feet difference. To me, they actually feel closer because if you walk from Ingram, you can see the campus. If you’re used to going to Morton, it’s exactly the same.”
Dennis said that the first building should be open by the start of school, but if it is not completed, students will be temporarily placed somewhere else by student life.
“They’ll know ahead of time if this is going to happen. If there’s a hurricane in the middle of the summer that could shut down construction for a couple of weeks, but our intent is to have it open. If we don’t make it we’ll have a plan for a temporary spot, and we’ll help relocate them [students] once the apartments are finished,” Dennis said.
Because of climbing enrollment numbers in recent years to 2,260 full-time undergraduates, Dennis says, the college’s master plan eventually foresees 2,500 students. There are currently no plans to build any more housing on or off campus at FSC, though current housing may see some interior updates such as new floors or bathrooms.
“Administration and the board of administration is looking at the school’s growth,” Dennis said. “This year we have 2,200 students if we go to ‘x’ number, how many of that will increase as commuters or residential? What does this mean for us? Do we need to build another residence hall? It’ll all depend on our strategic plan and we won’t want to get any larger than whatever that number is.”