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State-of-the-Art Upper-Level Student Housing Opens at FIT


(Source: Spitzer, Michelle, "Dorms Open at Florida Tech: New Harris Village Ready for Upper-Level Students," Florida Today, August 12, 2008)

MELBOURNE - Upperclassmen this week are moving into Florida Tech's newest dorm, Harris Village, a cluster of three buildings that includes the latest in collegiate living.

The dorms are set up like apartments: each student gets his or her own bedroom, a bathroom is shared by several students, and as many as four students share a kitchen and common living area.

The five-story buildings can house as many as 382 students, but no freshmen are allowed.

The state-of-the-art dorm is one of the perks of being an upperclassman, Florida Tech spokeswoman Karen Rhine said. About 1,700 students live on campus.

John Buonocore, a 19-year-old sophomore, had help from his friends and brother moving in to his fifth-floor room. While roommate Louie Sarro, an 18-year-old sophomore, filled the kitchen drawers with utensils, Buonocore got a first look around his new pad.

"I know dorms are kind of small, but I figured, since these are brand-new, they would be nice," Buonocore said. "I love it so far."

Besides Wi-Fi, elevators and panic buttons in each room, the dorm has high-tech features that may not be so obvious to students.

The brick building was designed with the environment in mind, said Rob Ghiotto, project manager of facilities management at Florida Tech.

The walls and roof have extra insulation to help conserve energy, the air conditioner is supported by a cooling system that is energy-efficient, and extra devices have been installed to support cell phone coverage.

Another perk for students: They won't have to wait long for hot water. The buildings use a hot-water system that is gas-fired and allows hot water to come out "almost instantaneously," Ghiotto said.

"That's something you see more in a commercial building than a residential building," he said.

The dorms were built by a private developer and are being leased by the university.

Florida Tech has the same arrangement with Columbia Village, which opened in fall 2003.

Harris Village was named in honor of the university's longstanding relationship with Harris Corp. Two of the individual buildings are named after retired chief executive officers from Harris -- John T. Hartley and Phillip W. Farmer.

"The dorms that I was used to, with two beds in one room, these aren't like them," Ghiotto said. "It's a much more friendly environment, a more at-home feeling. You get more privacy."

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