Southside Hall: what is that?


Hunter Morrison, Staff Writer

If you’re walking around UWF, you’ve probably noticed several vacant buildings clustered around campus. These square-shaped buildings sit near the John C. Pace Library, the University Commons and J.B. Hopkins Hall, drawing curious attention to all who walk past. But what exactly are they?

Believe it or not, these were once residence halls for students. Formally known as the Southside Halls, these residence halls were part of the original 25 buildings constructed when UWF opened in 1967. There are 15 of these residence halls in total. 

“Built back in the late 1960s, the Southside Halls were nicknamed the ‘pizza hut dorms’ because like Pizza Huts back in the day they went up quickly and all pretty much looked the same,” said Receiving Manager and Supervisor for UWF’s Housing Maintenance Department William Taft. “They were well known for being the first University Resident Facility in Florida to offer residents their own private showers and bathrooms. It made them quite popular and well-loved in the community.”

Each building in the Southside residences, with the exception of Buildings 28 and 33, could house a maximum of 32 residents. Each building was divided into four sections, housing eight students in each section. Each individual room in the residence halls could serve two students. 

All of the 15 Southside residences have a square footage of a little more than 3000 feet. Although it may not look like it at first glance, each hall is two stories tall. Each residence hall also has a courtyard, which was ideal for social gatherings or Greek Life activities.

“After some time, the Southsides found themselves as more or less the Greek Life residential halls,” said Taft. “Mostly those in building numbers 26 through 35, with 35 having been the most recent sorority that found a home in a Southside. Each sorority and fraternity for the most part had their own Southside that they were allowed to decorate inside and allow residents in their houses to stay in.”

Since being constructed, the Southsides have seen renovations. Southside Building 28 has had one of its sides renovated into two office spaces for the Hall Directors and an office for the Student Desk Assistants and Resident Associates. Additionally, the top floor of the renovated side of Building 28 has been turned into a two-section apartment for the Southside Hall Director. 

Unlike most modern residence halls, the majority of the Southside residences did not have a kitchen. Building 33 of the Southside Halls was an exception to this, as a kitchen was installed in one of its wings. 

The Southside Halls served UWF students for nearly 50 years until its closure in 2017. Over the years, the Southsides have housed thousands of university students. 

“After nearly 50 years of running as residential halls, Housing and Residential Life had to make a difficult decision to shut down the Southsides,” said Taft. “The cost of running and up-keeping the halls became too great, and for the safety and health of UWF’s residents and staff, we shut them down and began the process of emptying them.”

Currently, there are no distinct plans for what the future holds for the Southside Halls. As long as they stand on UWF’s campus, they will be a point of curiosity and marvel for all present and future students and staff.