New residence hall planned for BBC

Housing and Residential Life has announced its plan to close the Bay Vista residence hall at the end of the spring semester as it makes way for a new 400 to 600-bed facility to open in fall 2015. The current Bay Vista residence hall will undergo a multi-million dollar renovation by Royal Caribbean to house its performers training at the facility.

There are currently 244 students living in Bay Vista who will relocate to MMC before the hall closes on May 1, 2014. Housing and Residential Life has been in touch with these students to provide a smooth transition to other residence halls.

Bay Vista_FI

“We’ve agreed to give all Bay Vista residents priority in selecting a room at MMC,” said Joseph Paulick, director of housing. “We’ve also created travel accommodations for these students who will need to commute daily to BBC.”

Built in 1983, Bay Vista was originally a 550-bed housing project built by a private developer. In 1999, the facility underwent a $3.9 million renovation, which converted it to a 300-bed facility with single rooms, rather than doubles, and upgraded much of the building’s infrastructure and furnishings, including bathrooms and kitchens, telecommunication systems, security, air conditioning and more. While the university has continued to maintain the residence hall and respond to resident’s requests for improvements, studies proved that the facility was more expensive to maintain than to renovate.

Jim Wassenaar, director of facilities planning and operations, Division of Student Affairs, has been with FIU for more than 20 years and is responsible for many of the housing projects on campus, including the wildly celebrated Parkview Hall. He said that the renovations to Bay Vista in 1999 were a short term fix and he knew he wanted a better residence hall for BBC students. While involved in negotiations with Royal Caribbean, Wassenaar saw the opportunity to reposition the current hall in favor of a brand new residence hall for future FIU students.

“I can empathize with students who are being inconvenienced and disrupted, but it’s so important to BBC that we generate a new, energy efficient, student-focused residence hall,” he said. “It’s fundamental to that campuses ability to grow and better serve its academic programs.”

BBC Vice Provost Steven Moll shares Wassenaar’s sentiments and notes that new construction projects have contributed to the physical and academic growth at the campus.

“Once complete, all construction projects have made FIU a better institution,” Moll said. “I am participating in our [search] for a new housing complex and am excited by the prospect of the Royal Caribbean partnership with our Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management and the College of Architecture + The Arts. It will provide a new blueprint for our exciting and vibrant campus.”

Students affected by the Bay Vista closing can call 305-348-4190 or email for guidance on transitioning to MMC housing after May 1.