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Work starts on $42M, 100,000-square-foot student center at USF Sarasota-Manatee

The University of South Florida campus hopes to change its reputation as a commuter college with new residences and a student center set to open at start of the 2024 school year.

The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee campus is building a new 100,000-square-foot student center.
The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee campus is building a new 100,000-square-foot student center.
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The University of South Florida is set to kick off construction on its $42 million housing and student center at its Sarasota-Manatee campus.

Site work began last week and the official kick off to construction will be March 1 when officials descend on the campus for a ceremonial groundbreaking event. Work on the center, which will house about 200 students, is scheduled to be done in time for the start of the fall 2024 semester.

The six-story, 100,000-square-foot building is an eagerly awaited addition to a campus where students have historically lived at home or had to find off site housing. The university says adding the residences and the center “will help the university recruit and retain students, including from out of state and overseas; elevate the on-campus experience for all students; and allow the Sarasota-Manatee campus — the only four-year research university in the region — to forever shed the moniker of being a ‘commuter college.’”

When the university announced the project in September, it said the new building would include a 32,000-square-foot student center and have a bookstore as well dining options, lounges and meeting rooms.

The top four floors will be 68,000 square feet and be made up of 70 double-occupancy rooms and 60 single-occupancy rooms. The university said at the time that the rooms will be like apartments with one-, two- and four-bedroom options with shared bathrooms, living spaces and kitchens or kitchenettes.

A university spokesperson did not respond to questions about whether the square footage or configurations had changed since the announcement.

The building is going up on Seagate Drive, on the south side of the campus, just west of the Selby Auditorium and Crosley Campus Center. Students, and others, will be able to look out toward Sarasota Bay and Longboat Key from a set of large windows.

USF’s Sarasota-Manatee campus came into existence in the mid-1970s when the university brought the New College of Florida into its system.

The university, according to a history of the campus, had been looking farther south in Fort Myers, going as far as moving trailers to the campus of the Glen Institute and borrowing classrooms from local schools for night classes.

But at the time the New College of Florida was dealing with financial difficulties and approached the state. On July 1, 1975, an agreement was reached giving USF control of the college.

This article originally appeared on sister site



Louis Llovio

Louis Llovio is the commercial real estate editor at the Business Observer. Before going to work at the Observer, the longtime business writer worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Maryland Daily Record and for the Baltimore Sun Media Group. He lives in Tampa.

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