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USF newest living community formally opens first phase

Community gathers to celebrate the new facilities.

USF’s newest on-campus living community was fully opened Oct. 5 when scissors ceremoniously clipped away ribbon and formally introduced the first two residence halls, a dining facility, and a fitness facility.

The event, held in the outdoor common area nestled in the center of the new buildings, included USF leadership, community leaders, construction partners, students, faculty and staff, along with the Herd of Thunder, Sun Dolls and Rocky.

“The Village provides much needed living space, but this is also all about student success, now and for years to come,” said USF System President Judy Genshaft at the opening ceremony. “These are state-of-the-art facilities and the environment enhances learning. This is designed to help our students thrive and to enhance their college experience, and it’s working!”

Judy Genshaft

This fall welcomed about 850 students to two completed residence halls in the Village – Beacon and Summit Halls – as well as a new dining facility named The Hub and, most recently, its new wellness center The Fit. The next phase will offer three more halls in fall 2018 that will add more than 1,100 beds, bringing the total number of students living in The Village to nearly 2,000 and increasing the student housing capacity at USF to approximately 6,500 beds.

“There is even more to come,” Genshaft said. “Next fall we will celebrate the opening of halls Endeavor, Pinnacle and Horizon. We love these times of celebration.”

The transformational new housing village is a $134M public-private partnership with Capstone-Harrison Street, LLC (partnership of Capstone Development Partners, LLC and Harrison Street Real Estate Capital). The project represents the largest public-private partnership in the history of the State University System and the single largest student housing project ever approved by the Florida Board of Governors

“It has been a great honor and a great privilege for the Capstone/Harrison Street team and our partners to have worked with University of South Florida to fulfill your vision for this community,” said Jeff Jones, principal of Capstone Development Partners. “It’s great to see the beautiful facility. It’s great to know that we have transformed your previously well-serving but outdated housing into something new and vibrant like this. But what’s really gratifying is to understand, know and think about the difference this community and the programs that you will operate out of this community will make in the lives of your students and in their personal and academic development over their many decades to come.”

Jeff Jones

USF student Taylor Harris, who lives in the Village, offered a student perspective.

“Living on campus is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that fundamentally shapes us as emerging adults,” Harris said. “And the USF Housing and Residential Office recognizes this. They do everything in their power to manifest an environment of growth, paired with learning, so that students will leave college with not just education and knowledge but with skills and experience learned outside the classroom that are just as meaningful. The Village is the newest, most innovative place to live on campus… This truly is the best place to live, best place to work and the best place to learn.”

Taylor Harris

Beacon and Summit Halls are each six-story co-ed communities comprised of first-year students and upperclassmen. Beacon Hall has 378 students and Summit Hall has 499 students. There are suite and traditional floor plans. Amenities include full kitchen, gaming area, TV lounge, multipurpose room, conference room, laundry room, active and quiet lounges on each floor, and digital cable TB access.

The Hub is a Green-Certified building and features nearly 500 indoor and outdoor seats, a coffee shop and registered dietician onsite to provide free nutritional counseling for meal plan holders. There are Smart Tables available with USB capability, free wi-fi, digital menu signage with nutrition information, private collaborative spaces for eating and studying with friends, and a dining room that seats 30 and will take reservations. Many stations provide a variety of dining choices, one of which is a dedicated space that is free of seven of the most common eight food allergies, including shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, eggs, wheat and soy.

The Fit is a state-of-the-art, 19,000 square foot facility offering cardio and weight training equipment, an outdoor swimming pool and numerous other amenities. The space includes a Center for Student Wellbeing that offers electronic massage chairs, nap pods, sleep packs, bean bags, soothing music, InBody composition analysis, and wellness tips and information from trained staff.

Photos by Eric Younghans, story by Sarah Worth, & video by Ryan Noone, USF Communications.

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