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Off-campus residence hall to draw entrepreneurial students

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Posted: Thursday, February 6, 2014 12:57 am

Next year, the Innovation Square will be home to more than just good ideas.

Plans are in the works for an off-campus residence hall expected to open in August 2015 intended for UF students with an entrepreneurial drive.

Infinity Hall is specifically designed for students who wish to one day own their own businesses, said Norb Dunkel, associate vice president for UF Student Affairs.

“Students living in the residence hall will be exposed to financial advisers, venture capitalists and company CEOs,” Dunkel said.

Signet Enterprises will privately own and develop the hall. It will be located on the north side of Innovation Square, five blocks east of Tigert Hall.

The project is estimated to cost $20 million, Dunkel said.

Ed Poppell, CEO of Innovation Square, said Signet is responsible for purchasing the land, building the property and maintaining the residence hall.

Through a partnership with the company, UF will run the residence life and programming aspects of the facility, Dunkel said.

Poppell said he thinks Infinity Hall will be the first residence hall in the nation to be built from the ground up to foster undergraduate entrepreneurial students.

“We are continuing to develop the ecosystem of the entrepreneurial spirit,” he said.

Ariana Figueroa, an 18-year-old Innovation Academy journalism freshman, said she feels many students in the Academy will be interested in living in the new hall.

The majority of these students were assigned Beaty Towers as their residence hall this year and are used to more spacious living conditions than most freshmen experience, she said.

“I think it’s going to be extremely beneficial for incoming freshmen,” Figueroa said.

The contemporary-style residence hall is designed to hold 284 students and eight undergraduate staff members.

The five-floor building will offer multiple room styles.

Students can choose from connected double rooms that share a bathroom and living room, single rooms connected by a bathroom or suites.

There will be a kitchen on each floor with a “dirt wall” — a glass wall that can be written on — at the end of the hallways, Dunkel said.

Similar to Hume Hall, males and females can live on the same floor, but each room will be single-sex. Dunkel said rates are also expected to be comparable to Hume’s.

The ground floor will feature a large lobby, collaboration space and rooms for small-group work and business planning.

Groundbreaking for Infinity Hall is expected to be in late March or early April.

[A version of this story ran on page 1 on 2/6/2014 under the headline "Off-campus residence hall to draw entrepreneurial students"]

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