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Downtown Student Housing for FSCJ Aims to Build Community

12/24/2015

Named as the best community college in recent ranking, Florida State College-Jacksonville, or “FSCJ,” will soon enjoy additional student housing. Thanks to the sale of a downtown building, plans are in the works for more housing to accommodate the growing number of FSCJ students. While this might seem a bit odd for a community college, according to school officials, the move is actually logistical and way overdue.

Currently, FSCJ wants to put in 60 beds, as well as a café that culinary students of the educational institute would run. The long-time vacant building located at 20 W. Adams is ideal, with plans to have it ready for students by fall of next year. However, one aspect of this downtown student housing project that makes it so great is the affordable price point.

Meeting Growing Demand

Known as the Lerner Building, this new building is something that the students of FSCJ desperately need. In looking at other community colleges throughout the country, many are investing in student housing due to increased demand, according to Chris Holland, vice president of student affairs.

In particular, the growing demand has hit urban core areas where student housing options are rare or nonexistent. For community college students in Jacksonville, Florida, there is a major problem in that affordable and quality student housing in the urban core area does not exist. As expressed by Holland, there is a growing population that needs student housing, but unless vacant downtown buildings are converted, these students have no options.

Affordable Rent

Compared to the price point for FSCJ student housing, the monthly rent for studio and one-bedroom apartments at The Carling on Forsyth and several new developments is significantly higher. For the new student housing, rent will probably run about $750 per month, but include all utilities, as well as free WiFi. When looking at the cost of University of North Florida dorms, the price is comparable.

Erin Richman, executive director of Institutional Innovation, stated that at this price point, students from FSCJ will find the student housing attractive. After all, for Florida student housing, $750 a month is considered affordable, especially since utilities and WiFi are included.

However, by transforming vacant buildings into student housing for FSCJ and other colleges/universities, the schools will give students the opportunity to become an integral part of the downtown area. This also helps revitalize shops and other businesses within the downtown region, so that overall, it is a win-win situation.

Most students that attend FSCJ are from the Jacksonville area, but in recent years, officials have noted an increase in the number of international students choosing this particular college. Of course, the new student housing will benefit all students, but for those without nearby families, having more options is critical.

Moving toward downtown student housing will also build a stronger sense of community in Jacksonville. After all, studies show that when students live in student housing, colleges tend to retain more students. The goal with the new building is to offer students what they need while creating a community that thrives.

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