By Zach Chouteau
PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Beck Group, an integrated architecture and construction firm, recently announced the groundbreaking on a new residence hall and dining facility at USF St. Petersburg.
Beck is the architect for the university’s 375-bed residence hall and its first full-service dining facility, which will accommodate 400. The project is expected to be completed by July 2020 and will increase the number of students living on campus by nearly 70 percent.
“This is an exciting time for the University of South Florida and we’re honored to play a role in helping grow the community on the St. Petersburg campus,” said Joe Harrington, principal architect at Dallas-based The Beck Group.
The residence hall rooms will be suite-style in configuration, with about 60-75 percent being four-bed, two-bath single occupancy units. The remainder will be two-bed, one-bath double-occupancy units. Approximately 30-40 percent of the single-occupancy units will be designated “flex” units, which are capable of converting to double-occupancy units. The anticipated design will include a student lounge and study room on each floor and a community laundry space.
Beck is seeking LEED gold certification for the facility from the U.S. Green Building Council to align with USF St. Petersburg’s emphasis on sustainability. If certified, it would be the fourth USFSP building to earn gold certification. The university’s Warehouse Laboratory, which houses, biology, chemistry and physics labs, received the highest certification of LEED platinum, the first building in the USF System to receive the recognition.
At the recent groundbreaking, Beck provided more than 300 virtual reality goggles for the ceremony attendees who used their smartphones to take a virtual tour of the new facility.
Among those who attended the ceremony included USF President Judy Genshaft; USFSP Regional Chancellor Martin Tadlock; USF Board of Trustee member and USFSP Campus Board Chair Stephanie Goforth: and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman.
Tadlock said: “This is a historic event for USF Petersburg. The new residence hall and dining facility will not only provide much-needed affordable living and dining options for our students — it will foster a greater sense of community and help us with our efforts to continue improving student success.”
Demand for student housing has been steadily increasing in recent years, said Jacob Diaz, Regional Assistant Chancellor and Dean of Students at USFSP. The new residence hall will help offset that and will give the university the opportunity to expand curriculum targeted to residential students.
“This facility will not only offer easy access to campus resources and activities, it will also provide our students with leadership and learning opportunities,” said Diaz. “I’m really excited for what it will mean for student life on campus.”
Founded in 1912, The Beck Group is a collaborative team of designers, builders and technology experts, offering planning, architecture, interior design, construction, sustainability and technology consulting services. By integrating architecture and construction, Beck provides a unique approach to projects that transforms the way organizations design and build. With 900+ employees in Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, Denver, Fort Worth, Mexico City and Tampa, Beck’s pioneering use of mainstream and emerging technologies provides clients with solutions at every stage of their projects. For more information, visit beckgroup.com.