The Inter American University officially broke ground on its new $36.9 million student housing complex, which it will include in its internationalization plan of recruiting students from other countries to offer the opportunity of cultural and social exchange.
The new residence hall to be located at the college’s San Juan metro campus, will address the housing needs of international students — of which there are some 500 enrolled in the university — as well as those traveling from other municipalities, Inter American University President Manuel J. Fernós said.
“Our project became more important when we saw the needs faced by our visiting students, after the onslaught of Hurricane María, needs that the Metro campus addressed diligently and expeditiously, but that will be much easier to bear when we have a place available that will be a second home for our students,” he said.
The development consists of two six-story towers connected by a small square. The south tower will include commercial spaces for rent. The towers will house 120, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments, as well as apartments designed exclusively for people with disabilities.
There will have a total of 440 beds available. Each apartment will have a living room, kitchen, bathroom, and a balcony. In addition, the facility will have room for more than 300 parking spaces and will feature power generators.
The funding for the construction project is the product of a $21.6 million bond emission through the Puerto Rico Industrial, Tourist, Educational, Medical and Environmental Control Facilities Financing Authority (known as AFICA for its initials in Spanish,) as this media outlet reported last month.
The new AFICA bonds are not guaranteed by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico nor any of its instrumentalities and that the payment of interest and principal of the AFICA bonds will be made solely by the Inter American University.
“The extraordinary thing about this project is that student housing is self-financing, in which everyone wins. There will be no losses,” Fernós said.
The Inter American University’s investment includes $4.2 million for the cost of land, $733,000 for renderings and supervision, $5.33 million to start the project, and $5 million for the final phase of the project. The $15.3 million investment is added to the special AFICA bond issue, Fernós said.
Aireko Construction Management Service will be responsible for the project, which will create about 200 direct jobs during the construction phase.