By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
THE University of the Bahamas' northern campus is holding an open house for the public to view the newly built $4.5m Hawksbill Hall, which will be available for occupancy in the Fall of 2018.
The open house is from June 18 to 29 between 10am to 4pm daily at the UB north campus in East Grand Bahama.
Dr Ian Strachan, vice president of UB North, said that all interested persons are invited to come to see the facility, which is a viable alternative for housing for those students from Grand Bahama and the Family Islands.
"We are very excited to have this opportunity," he said on Wednesday during a press conference and walkthrough at Hawksbill Hall with the local media.
Dr Theo Cooper, dean of students, said the facility consists of 14 suites, comprising a total of 28 double occupancy rooms and 28 single occupancy rooms, as well as two handicapped-accessible rooms.
He said the amenities include a full-service cafeteria, a 24-hour computer lab, a student recreation room with 64-inch television, lounge and dining areas, a fitness room, and coin laundry facility.
Vivian McIntosh, hall director, said in addition to housing, there will be social events such as a movie night, karaoke, barbeque nights, and seminars on time management, study skills, and conflict resolution.
She said the facility offers a stable and safe environment for all residents. Ms McIntosh believes her experience as a guidance counsellor would be beneficial to help students deal with various issues.
Dr Strachan believes that Hawksbill Hall offers the best value for money, and said there are hundreds on the waiting list for the dorm facility at the campus in New Providence.
He said that room rates start at $500 per term for double occupancy which works out to $125 per month and $800 per semester for single occupancy. Additionally, there are two meal plans which are mandatory at $720 per term, or $1,080.
Dr Strachan said that at the lower end, the cost per month for a student works out to $305 for a double occupancy room with two meals per day, compared to the average rent of $450 for studio or efficiency apartment in New Providence, excluding meals and other incidentals.
"We feel the rates are competitive and parents in the Family Islands who send their kids to New Providence would find it is better for them at Hawksbill Hall," he said.
Dr Strachan noted that there are a number of programmes offered to completion at the north campus in Grand Bahama. He also said that persons could start their programmes in Grand Bahama and complete up to 50 percent of their courses before moving to New Providence.
"We are looking to increase our programmes and adding new faculty every semester. We are now looking to offer the bio-chem degree which will help 30 students of not having to go to New Providence - that is a big success for us.
"UB North is growing, and we want the whole Bahamas to know we are a viable alternative," Dr Strachan said.
He said the goal is to make a public request by the end of summer for a shopping plaza on campus.
"We are hoping to offer a number of services, not just for students but to the surrounding community because there is no place to buy dry goods or a gas station within proximity," he said.
He said they are hoping to provide a joint venture opportunity for investors to provide a restaurant, service station, and other amenities.
"We have 500 students and close to 50 employees, and in the adjacent neighbourhoods, there are no laundry, clinic, convenience store, restaurant. We believe these are the things we can offer on our campus and are looking for investors to develop something like that on campus over the next two years," he said.