A new residence hall at University of South Florida St. Petersburg will strengthen the campus community as well as the university’s connections to St. Petersburg, said USF President Steven Currall.
“It’s going to build bonds among students, bonds between faculty members and students, and between staff and students. It’s going to be terrific as a catalyst for that sense of community that’s so important to our students,” Currall said at a topping off ceremony for the six-story, 125,000-square-foot residence hall Friday morning.
The topping off ceremony marked the end of major exterior work on the residence hall, which was financed by a $32 million bond issue. Interior work remains to be done, but the building is on track for completion in July 2020. With 375 beds, it will increase the number of beds on campus by about 70 percent.
See scenes from the topping off ceremony in the gallery below.
The residence hall, on 6th Avenue South between 3rd and 4th Streets South, is near burgeoning residential and business growth in downtown St. Petersburg.
“It’s great for the university community and it’s also great for the St. Petersburg community,” Currall said, adding that he met with Mayor Rick Kriseman recently and talked about how the university and the city could work together.
“I’ve never been anywhere in my career — and I’ve been a few places — that has a better relationship between the university and the city than I’ve experienced here in St. Petersburg,” said Martin Tadlock, USFSP regional chancellor. “The town-gown relationships here are absolutely phenomenal.”
Tadlock said the new residence hall would bring “vibrancy” to the area south of downtown.
“This is going to be a place where hopes and dreams are realized, where promises of new futures are realized, where students can gather and talk about those things that matter, where they can create networks that will lead them forward in their careers,” he said. “It means more of our students will be able to come here, live here, stay here, enhance this part of the city and downtown St. Petersburg just steps away … It will bring more enthusiasm and energy to this part of the community because young people have that.”
The project has moved quickly, said Ryan Toth, regional director for The Beck Group, which designed the project and is part of the construction management team. Project design started a year ago and the groundbreaking was in April.
Stephanie Goforth, USF trustee and chair of the USFSP campus board, recalled that Beck handed out 3D glasses during that groundbreaking.
“When you put those on you could see this. Now you’re here in person to see what it really is like,” Goforth said.