BBC housing left to Board of Governors

Karla Reyes/ Contributing Writer

Construction on the new residence halls at the Biscayne Bay Campus has halted, leaving students without on-campus housing until summer 2016.

In an email with Maydel Santana-Bravo, director of the FIU Office of Media Relations, she said beginning construction is expected in early 2015 and its completion in July 2016.

She said construction was not interrupted, but rather phase two needs to begin.

Site preparation and safety measures for the building have been completed, but construction cannot begin until the Florida Board of Governors approve the project, which could be a wait as long as early 2015.

The University, which only provided land for this project, is in a public-private partnership with Servitas, the project’s developer, who will be working on the financing the project.

The new BBC housing facility will be built next to the Roz and Cal Kovens Conference Center and the old Bay Vista Hall is now under Royal Caribbean.

The University and Royal Caribbean Ltd. signed a contract that would provide 20 annual internships at Royal Caribbean facilities to University students, access to the performing arts studio under construction at BBC, and access to data that can potentially be used for research.

In turn, the University gave Royal Caribbean Bay Vista to renovate and house their own performance employees.

244 students lived in the Bay Vista complex before it closed in May, but Santana-Bravo said only 48 of the students displaced received priority housing at the Modesto Maidique Campus.

Transportation costs to BBC were also provided to the group of students free of charge, according to Santana-Bravo.

“All of them were not going to come back because some were graduating,” said Santana-Bravo.

RaShondra Jackson, a senior broadcast media major who lived at Bay Vista until it closed, said she planned to graduate next semester — long before the new housing at BBC is completed — but the move was an inconvenience.

After she was set to move to MMC, Jackson received an email notifying her that financial aid would not cover housing costs.

“Basically, they said I had to pay out-of-pocket,” said Jackson.

Even with priority registration, Jackson said she couldn’t move to MMC due to the spike in costs for a two-bedroom unit. Jackson now commutes from her home in West Little River.

When she called the University to ask about the issue, they told her there was nothing they could do.

“I never had this problem at BBC,” said Jackson.

Vy Trinh, a senior chemistry major, said she moved out of MMC housing this semester because it was too expensive for a student only taking two classes.

Trinh now commutes to MMC from her home in Sunrise.

“I don’t need to pay $40,000 more for six credits,” said Trinh.

-bbc@fiusm.com

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