Nearly 2,000 students currently live on campus. According to reports from the Housing and Residence Life Master Plan Task Force, students who live in Southside buildings are living in dormitories that will be destroyed.
“Eventually, they’re all going to go away to make room for academic buildings,” said Jim Hurd, senior associate vice president of Student Affairs.
Hurd said that because they are “relatively small buildings,” Southside dorms are expensive to maintain. He also said that there are areas in Southside buildings that are not up to date, such as their spiral staircases and outdoor laundry rooms.
Hurd said the negative factors of Southside buildings are “No. 1 their age in general, and No. 2 their style.”
Hurd also said in an email interview that because the buildings are low profile and spread out across campus, they cover more land than taller buildings would. He said that removing Southside buildings in a certain area and replacing them with three-, four-, or five-story buildings would be better for the campus economically and environmentally.
Less land used means less environmental impact, including issues with storm water, he said.
According to the Master Plan and Hurd, the soonest the buildings would be demolished would likely be 2014.
“I wouldn’t anticipate that a lot of students are going to get displaced,” Hurd said. “Since the majority of Southside residents are freshman who move on to other housing, we would simply be assigning new students to new spaces.”
He also said that upperclassmen will continue to get preferential treatment, including advance rooming assignments, and should have the same opportunities to continue living on campus as they currently do.
The Southside buildings, according to Krista Boren, director of Housing and Residence Life, were built in 1967.
Bethany Ogilvie, a senior cultural anthropology major and Southside resident, said her uncle actually stayed in the same building she currently lives in when he went to UWF.
“I think it’s time for these things to go,” Ogilvie said.
Her sister and roommate, Chelsea Ogilvie, a sophomore psychology major, said that their room’s heating and cooling system often malfunctions and that they have been forced to buy space heaters and fans.
R.A. Ja’Layne Kronz, a junior oceanography major, said she thinks Southside dormitories are suitable to live in.
“You’re a college student,” Kronz said. “You’re not supposed to have a luxurious lifestyle.”
Michael Hewlett, a sophomore maritime studies major, said he that while he likes the “freedom” of living in a Southside dorm because he doesn’t have to use an I.D. to enter his building, he would be in favor of demolishing the dorms.
“I think it’ll be a good thing,” Hewlett said in reference to the project. “These things are too old to live in.”
According to UWF’s Master Plan, campus housing reached programmed capacity in 2006. Hurd said that additional capacity was added by transitioning many Southside rooms from single to double occupancy.
Hurd said that the newest residence hall, Heritage Hall, added over 250 beds to the inventory, and that next fall, President’s Hall will add 250 more. UWF’s residency is currently at 102 percent, meaning that the campus is overcrowded and is only getting more crowded.
Pace, Martin, and Argo halls, originally made for two people per room, now host three people per room in many rooms. One hundred beds over the intended number have been added to UWF residence halls.
With President’s Hall opening in fall 2012, the campus will have more space soon, and Hurd said that things will only improve when Southside buildings are gone. He said that academic buildings will replace the Southside buildings, and that additional housing to accommodate students will be built over the next several years.