Historic City News reporters were on hand Wednesday when Flagler College broke ground on its $23 million downtown St. Augustine project that includes a 52,800-square-foot residence hall and 551-space parking garage on the corner of King and Malaga Streets.
The project is on the site of the college’s existing FEC Residence Hall property — the historic former headquarters of Florida East Coast Railway that the college converted to student residences after acquiring the property in 2006.
“The Malaga Street project is another milestone in the history of our college,” said Flagler President William T. Abare Jr., calling it significant from a student satisfaction standpoint, as well as for recruiting future students. “It is critical to have first-rate facilities. This is the largest and perhaps the most ambitious project we have undertaken.”
Malaga Street Residence Hall and Parking Garage Factsheet:
• Groundbreaking: May 18, 2016
• Estimated cost: $23 million
• Estimated completion: Parking garage – November 2016
• Estimated completion: Residence Hall – August 2017
• 148 single bedrooms, the majority in suites.
• 9 student lounges/study rooms, three laundry rooms.
• 13,700-square-foot, two-story commons building with convenience store and grill, fitness room, multipurpose area, student lounges and offices.
• 52,800-square-foot, three-story residence hall overlooking King Street and San Sebastian River.
• Five-level parking garage on Malaga Street with approximately 550 parking spaces.
The new three-story residence hall will have 148 bedrooms in suites. There will be nine student lounges and study rooms with three laundry rooms. A 13,700-square-foot, two-story commons building will connect the new residence hall to the existing FEC residence halls. The commons will have a convenience store and grill, fitness facility, multipurpose area, student lounges and offices.
The five-level parking garage will be constructed first and sits on property that is currently being used as an unimproved parking lot for approximately 120 cars.
Abare said there has been an increase in the number of students who want to live on campus rather than commute to class, and that this project will fulfill that need. The college does not plan to increase its overall enrollment from 2,500 students.
“We think it’s going to make a difference in our student life and our residence life programs,” he said.
Flagler Trustee John D. Rood, who chaired the board’s Facilities Committee that oversaw planning and design of the complex, noted the importance of getting the project right not just for the college, but also for the surrounding neighborhoods and community. “We had to be very thoughtful and take the time to do it right,” he said at the groundbreaking.
Stellar of Jacksonville is the general contractor on the project, and PQH Group of Jacksonville was the architect. Civil engineering was done by the Matthews Design Group and structural engineering by McVeigh and Mangum Engineers