Editorial: Which comes first: BBC housing or BBC student life?

In 2013, the University closed Bay Vista Housing to students, after brokering a deal with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and leasing the outdated buildings. Now, four years later, housing is offered to students in the form of a fully furnished, luxury apartment owned and operated by a private company.

Bayview Apartments, the new housing option for BBC, are managed by Servitas and owned by the National Campus and Community Development Corporation. The NCCD is a nonprofit organization focused on providing public universities assistance in structuring and funding projects, which “will make a meaningful community impact.”

The decision to sell students housing on campus to a private company came after a 2008 engineering study found that “almost $15 million in code and building deficiencies and amenities improvements and recommended replacement” were needed. This is according to a PowerPoint prepared by the board of trustees, provided to Student Media by Kenneth Jessell, senior vice president and chief financial officer for the University.

Many students, including those of us on the editorial board, had criticized Bayview for being far too expensive -which it was, until it lowered its rates late in the spring semester- and too far from the majority of their classes, which are held at MMC, to be a viable option for housing. However, Bayview’s rates have dropped to match those of comparable housing options at MMC, and students can use their financial aid to assist in covering the costs.

While there are still not many full-degree options at BBC for students, the University is adding to programs on the campus as part of its growth strategy, according to the NCCD website.

Bayview has a number of shortcomings, such as being an on-campus option open to non-students and individuals from other schools and “programs”, as well as incurring costs for travel between campuses. These are factors students must consider when choosing housing, but they are also a factor at MMC for students studying hospitality or journalism and mass communication.

As an editorial board, we looked for an issue with Bayview, and couldn’t find one that wasn’t an issue with student housing, in general. Bayview is expensive and far from MMC, but there are malls and food options nearby; these same things can be said about housing at MMC or any of the privately owned facilities nearby.

The biggest issue Bayview has is, there isn’t as big a student life experience on campus as there is at MMC.

So, like the University, we asked ourselves which comes first: students living on campus or students having an abundance of activities and classes on campus.

We believe they must happen together, and hope the University does its part in creating a campus students want to live on. Providing an affordable option for housing quickly was a step in the right direction, but in order for the housing to be successful, more events, opportunities and student interaction need to happen on campus, initiated by the administration and student leaders.


Photo from bayviewfiu.com

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