Housing sign-up for new student village expected to open spring 2019

Arquitectonica's rendering of the proposed housing.
Arquitectonica's rendering of the proposed housing.

Hundreds of University of Miami students will be able to sign up in a year to be among the lucky ones who call the new multi-million dollar student housing village “home.”

Marketing Specialist of Housing and Residential Life Mike Piacentino said the village, the first phase of a 10-year plan to modernize all student housing on campus, is expected to be fully complete and open to residents by fall 2019. Students will be able to sign up for housing in the new village in spring 2019.

“Our plan, right now, is, when we do housing sign up, we have every intention of making the student housing village available for sophomores, juniors and seniors to live in,” Piacentino said.

The housing complex will have amenities in it that are “going to be nothing like the students have seen on this campus before,” Piacentino said.

The village will include eco-friendly rooftops, a 200-seat auditorium, kitchenettes, living rooms, a learning center, and an outdoor recreational center.

Students will have to pay a little more to live in the new village than in the current residential colleges. According to the HRL website, room rates for the 2018-2019 academic year will range from $8,120-$13,500 in Mahoney, Pearson or Eaton Residential Colleges. The University Village rates range from $11,460-$19,100.

Piacentino said though they don’t have a set price for the village suites yet, it will reflect market rates that students can expect to find in and around Miami. He said the university has benchmarked against other institutions as well.

The university announced its plan to embark on a process to create enhanced community-based residential housing spaces in spring 2017. The university submitted a proposal to the City of Coral Gables for the construction of the 12-acre village that will be composed of 25 clusters of interconnected buildings. Construction of the new housing village is the first phase of the decade-long project that will eventually renovate, build or remodel every housing building on campus to “set itself apart,” Piacentino said.

“Nothing impacts quality of campus like quality of student housing,” he said. “We have a new student center, new classrooms. Now, we need new housing.”

The project was in the works for almost five years, during which students and parents were surveyed. Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia Whitely said the project was a result of their responses.

“We certainly listened to what they wanted: apartments, suites, places to cook, not being on a meal plan,” said Whitely in an interview with The Miami Hurricane shortly after the plan was announced last year.

A contract with Arquitectonica, the Miami-based architecture firm, was drafted soon after the university got approval from local government. The next step was to begin to prepare the land where the new housing village will be constructed by uprooting trees and relocating them to a temporary nursery on campus. Hurricane Irma delayed construction by two weeks, but Piacentino said the storm did not cause too much of an impact on the village’s timeline.

“It was just two weeks,” Piacentino said. “We’re carrying on as normal.”

Whitely met with the Student Government senators to discuss the progress of the project. The last of the pavement was taken out in November and December, meaning construction could begin. Students will start to see “vertical construction” where the UM community will be able to see actual construction coming from the ground up. Currently, when students walk past the site, they can see big cranes and construction equipment.

As of now, concrete is being poured for the foundation pits. Then, from about April to November, the concrete for the upper levels of the complex, or floors two to six, will be poured. The installation of the village’s exterior skin, windows, mechanical electrical plumbing and interior wall finishes and fixtures will occur during the 2018-2019 academic school year.

By July 2019, the building is expected to receive its temporary certificate of occupancy.

Hecht Residential College Senator Randy Fitzgerald, a freshman, said the new housing is a part of UM President Julio Frenk’s strategic road map for university success.

“President Julio Frenk says we can improve by encouraging academic success, and one of those ways is promoting students to live on campus,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald said Student Government is excited that students will have optimal input in the recreational part of the village. Student leaders will be collecting input on vendors, food establishments and retail stores next year.

For more information on the new student housing, visit newstudenthousing.studentaffairs.miami.edu, e-mail newstudenthousing@miami.edu or call HRL at 305-284-4505.

Correction, 6:36 p.m., March 25, 2018: This article previously stated the student housing complex would sit on 8.6 acres of land and be composed of 23 buildings. The new student housing village will be on 12 acres of land and have 25 buildings.

The article also stated that the housing village would have a recreation room and bike shop. Following an update on the village’s program, the complex is planned to house other amenities such as an outdoor recreational center instead. The article has been updated to reflect this information.