Progress at the University of Miami’s Lakeside Village is on course for a May opening, with the flooring process nearly complete and structural inspections set to begin in coming weeks.
“They have been doing a lot of interior work that students don’t get to see,” said Jon Baldessari, UM’s director of housing operations and facilities.
After being delayed one year from it’s initially planned fall 2019 opening, Lakeside Village has steadily progressed and met all anticipated deadlines for construction. Students attending UM for the summer semester will have the option of applying for residence at Lakeside Village, which will also serve as housing for conference attendees in the area.
Baldessari said this period will serve to work out potential minor issues in the building’s operating procedures.
“When we were pushed back to 2020, the opportunity came to have this sort of soft opening, to be able to have our university facility staff get more familiar with the building,” said Baldessari.
The layout of the complex was designed with college students in mind. The open spacing and tall ceilings may help to mitigate the oppressive feeling that can often accompany dorm life, and with a barber shop and UPS store on campus, residents at Lakeside will hardly have to leave the dorms at all.
The facilities will also welcome local conference goers during the university breaks and offseason to ensure that the building is in use 365 days a year. Students who do not live in Lakeside will be welcome to utilize some of its resources while residents will have the ease of 24 hour availability of amenities.
Prospective students can anticipate updated 2D models of Lakeside’s different units to be available on the university website in the coming days, while 3D models are expected next month. As for touring, Baldessari said the timeline is still unclear.
“Once we are able to occupy the building this summer we would like to set up a process for touring, but it’s a little early right now to say how and when that might be accomplished,” he said.
One concern raised by university students over the development of Lakeside Village is it’s potentially prohibitive cost. There will be over 15 types of units at Lakeside Village with prices ranging from $5,975 to $11,650 a semester; however the majority of prices are between $8,000 and $10,000, nearly double the rates of Hecht Residential College double units. Students that were guaranteed affordable on-campus housing their first year are worried that they may run out of options, bu Baldessari said that the pricing is a result of detailed market studies based on off-campus housing prices in the surrounding area.
“Anytime there’s a new project with student housing, the primary driver there is the revenue that the building can generate, and that kind of sets your project budget for the complex,” Baldessari said.
“We want it to be an asset to the university,” he added. “So the rates really come from whatever that project and construction budget came out to be, making sure that it worked so that it’s something that sustains itself and the university doesn’t have to put other dollars towards it.”
The pricing factors in location, accessible resources and long-term financial stability. Some of the resources that will be afforded to the Lakeside residents include a smoothie bar, late-night diner and a plethora of study spaces. The complex will have a wide range of common areas, leaving students with no shortage of options for late-night cramming.
“Between all of the individual and group study spaces throughout the floors, and all of the unique architecture, which allows people to walk through and within the building without feeling these massive structures around you,” Baldessari said.
“We sort of look at it as the next generation of student housing. It’s definitely not just a dorm, and it’s definitely not just an apartment complex.”