The University of North Florida broke ground today on a new Honors Residence Hall and living-learning community that will house more than 500 students and open in fall 2025. UNF President Moez Limayem and other UNF and local leaders delivered remarks before officially breaking ground.
UNF’s new strategic plan, approved last month by the Florida Board of Governors, includes plans to increase enrollment to 25,000 students over five years. While that growth would come from students in various stages of their education, the University wants to provide additional housing opportunities for the growing number of students wanting to live on campus.
The four-story, 164,579-square-foot residence hall is being built on Osprey Ridge Road along the east side of the campus adjacent to Osprey Fountains. The new building will feature a living-learning community designated for honors students and additional space for students outside the honors program. It will be UNF’s first housing expansion project since Osprey Fountains opened in 2009, and it will bring the number of beds available to students to approximately 4,300 when the new facility opens.
“We are excited to begin construction on this important new community for our students,” said UNF President Moez Limayem. “This new residence hall aligns with UNF’s strategic growth and our commitment to create environments that support student success.”
Living-learning communities are designed to support students’ development and learning through engagement with other students with similar academic goals or shared interests. UNF has more than a dozen living-learning communities, and students generally do better in their coursework when broadening their learning experiences by living with peers who have similar interests. Living-learning communities have proven to be exceptional environments for students, said Dr. Jeff Chamberlain, dean of the Hicks Honors College.
“The intention is to promote an environment where students have common interests to build a strong academic and social support system in a convenient location,” he said.
The energy-efficient facility will include 521 beds, designated study areas, lounge spaces, social and entertainment areas, and a central kitchenette on each floor. The main floor amenities include a larger kitchen featuring a future cooking demonstration feature, offices, larger gathering and study spaces, mail, laundry, two resident advisor apartments and an outside food vendor. Outdoor amenities include basketball and sand volleyball courts, green space and a boardwalk connector to the campus center.
The new student housing project is the result of a demand study that started prior to COVID-19 and was updated again in spring 2023. The study looked at student needs, enrollment, growth, housing inventory and the North Florida market.
Other major UNF development projects in the works include the renovation of the Coggin College of Business, which will be merged with adjacent building 10, and the renovation of the Brooks College of Health. Both projects are also expected to be completed in 2025.