FAMU hosts ribbon-cutting for new residence hall
By Andrew Skerritt
FAMU office of Communications
A mid-week ceremony that marked the official opening of the FAMU Towers didn’t have a huge crowd, but it was a significant milestone for the newly opened 700-residence hall Wednesday.
FAMU President Larry Robinson and senior administration officials were among those who participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony last Wednesday.
“The FAMU Towers represent a positive direction in residential housing at Florida A&M University and we are extremely excited about the impact on our students,” Robinson told the small gathering in the courtyard of the South Tower.
In his remarks, Robinson lauded the efforts of Delores Glover of the Title III Office for identifying the U.S. Department of Education’s HBCU Capital Financing Program as a potential funding source for the construction of the new facility.
“Her passion and persistence over the years helped us arrive at this day,” Robinson said.
Although the HBCU Capital Financing Program was available to all historically Black colleges and universities, and many were benefiting from it, a provision in a Florida statue prevented FAMU from participating.
During the 2018 legislative session, Glover and others helped draft legislation to modify state law. State Rep. Ramon Alexander and Sen. Bill Montford championed the legislation with backing from colleagues, such as Senators Perry Thurston and Oscar Braynon, to allow for utilization of the HBCU Capital Financing Program. FAMU alumni and students also lobbied in person for the legislation.
In January 2019, FAMU signed a $125 million HBCU capital financing agreement for new construction, repairs and refinancing old debt. That allowed for the construction of FAMU Towers North and South for approximately $56 million. Some of the funding went toward a new dining hall, which is under construction next to the residence hall.
“We knew that this endeavor would take persistence and dedication and, as you can see from what’s in front of us, we picked the right team,” said Kim Moore, vice chair of the FAMU Board of Trustees. “This project, when you think about the commitment and everything that’s been poured into, would not have come to fruition were it not for everyone and what they’ve done. And we thank everyone for that.”
FAMU Towers opened in August as students moved in ahead of the fall semester. The complex includes four-story North and South towers and east and west wings.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this semester, double rooms each house only one student. Both Towers have a kitchen with dining areas, common areas on each floor, computer rooms, conference room, a laundry room and game rooms.
“We have created a 21st-century living and learning community that helps us recruit, retain and graduate the best students in the world,” said William E. Hudson Jr., vice president for Student Affairs, who thanked his staff for their efforts as the campus has experienced an unprecedented construction boom.
“This is the first time in the University’s history that the Division has three projects going on at the same time,” said Hudson, referring to the residence hall and dining hall, the almost completed Center for Access and Student Success on Wahnish Way and an amphitheater.
The project was developed by Construct Two Group, Inc. (CTG) of Orlando, which is led by FAMU alumnus Derrick Wallace.
“We have done this project on time and on budget,” Wallace told the gathering. “A project like this allows past generations to pay it forward and set the bar for quality of life on the FAMU campus.”