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UT Celebrates Opening of Stadium Center

Published: Aug 27, 2007
Like an expensive downtown condo, the new residence hall at The University of Tampa has all the amenities of an upscale, modern living space, plus breathtaking views of the Tampa skyline and cosmopolitan dining options.

“Stadium Center is going to be the envy of all the students,” said senior Mishell Thomas, a resident assistant for the hall. “It’s absolutely gorgeous, and the rooms are nice and spacious.”

The community will celebrate the residence hall’s grand opening on Sept. 6 at 10 a.m. in the lobby of the new building. The restaurants will offer samples from their menus, and all grand opening attendees will be invited to stay to enjoy a free lunch. R.S.V.P.s are requested, call (813) 253-6220. » Campus Map

The second mixed use facility on the 100-acre campus, the $45 million Stadium Center houses a dining area on the first floor, complete with a food court and an elegant, private dining area. Rooms arranged in a suite style house 448 students on the second through seventh floors. Every room is wired for Internet access and wireless service is available in the first floor dining lounge and in outdoor seating areas. The second floor also contains a lounge, vending area, laundry and a community room for meetings, training sessions and special events.

The typical student suite has a common living room with two double occupancy bedrooms attached. Each room is furnished with a lofted bed, a three-drawer dresser, a desk with a chair and a wardrobe per person.

Cara Bernstein, area coordinator, oversees 12 resident assistants in the new building. The resident assistants moved in on Aug. 8 and she said they were most excited about the dining facilities, the suites and the views of downtown Tampa and the athletic facilities.

“The students liked that they could sit in their rooms and watch baseball or soccer games outside, which they think will lead to greater support of athletics,” Bernstein said.

“One student recently walked in the building and asked me, ‘Why was this the year I decided to move off campus?’”

President Ronald L. Vaughn said Stadium Center’s completion continues The University of Tampa’s goal to be a community that mixes the residential experience with the learning environment. In the past 10 years six new residence halls have been built, and currently 68 percent of UT’s students live on campus.

“This is an exciting project,” Vaughn said. “It further ensures that students can live in a comfortable residential environment on campus, which will augment their academic experiences.”

About one-third of the students in the new building will be first-year students and two-thirds are continuing students. The sophomores and juniors living in Stadium Center will be able to act as mentors and role models for the new students, said Krystal Schofield, director of residence life.

“This will be another opportunity for our new students and continuing students to live and learn together,” Schofield said. “This building is truly a blended community.”

The 19,000 square-foot dining facility will also bring students—as well as faculty, staff and the public—together in the new building. The dining facility features an old world Italian eatery named Pandini’s; a coffee and bakery place called Jazzman’s; Salsa Rico, which serves fajitas, burritos and tacos with fresh tortillas and homemade guacamole; the Gourmet Grocer, where students can pick up hand-crafted artisan sandwiches, wholesome premium convenience items and savory hot soups; and Sedona Grill, with flavors from around the world and a Southwestern flair; and a Dairy Queen/Orange Julius.

Another option is Panache, an upscale restaurant offering contemporary fusion cuisine in a secluded setting. The public is welcome to dine in any of the restaurants during regular serving hours.

Construction of the new residence hall began in February 2006. The Beck Group, which also built Straz, Vaughn and Brevard halls on campus, constructed the 144,000-square-foot building. The building was financed through a bond issue and a $5 million gift from an anonymous donor.