The University of Florida Board of Trustees is expected to adopt the new Campus Development Agreement, which outlines plans for university growth and land use, in March 2021. This Gainesville Sun article helps outline the proposed changes.
The University of Florida Board of Trustees is expected to adopt the new Campus Development Agreement, which outlines plans for university growth and land use, in March 2021. Here’s what you should know about the proposed changes in the meantime.
Linda B. Dixon, director of planning with the UF office of Planning, Design & Construction, said a new honors hall will be built in the space currently taken up by the Broward Outdoor Recreational Complex’s tennis courts and pool for additional and upgraded housing. Like the current honors housing in Hume Hall, the new building will hold a mix of honors and general undergraduate students, according to Sara Tanner, marketing and communications director for UF Housing & Residence Education. Hume will still house other undergraduate students, just not anyone in the honors program, she said. While the new honors hall is being built, two graduate housing facilities will be eliminated: Maguire Village, located along Southwest 34th Street and Radio Road, and University Village South, Southwest 34th Street and Hull Road. Tanner said both complexes were deemed not financially worth renovating, so students and families who live there will be gradually moved into other updated on-campus housing by July 1, 2023. At that point, Dixon said, the land will be converted into recreational fields for athletic use.
Parking and roads
Dixon said Inner Road is also slated for an upgrade. The cramped one-way street, often a crowded mix of bikers, walkers and poorly placed parking spots, will be repaved to create two-way lanes. The 2020-30 plan will continue UF’s 2019 walkable campus priority project. Campus land from Newell Drive to Inner Road is projected to be closed to all traffic except emergency vehicles, and Union Road will become a walking path, Dixon said. There is no set deadline for this development specified in plan documents. And parking itself will be bumped up by an extra 870 new spaces, she said, either by expanding current lots or creating new ones. Potential lot locations are shown in blue and orange on the map below.
Conservation and recreation
Lake Alice, the natural heart of campus, is scheduled for a few projects, Dixon said. More native plants will be added to its borders to help the water habitat thrive. And the trail system will be expanded with more boardwalks and an asphalt path so more people can walk and bike on all sides of the lake and enjoy the scenery and wildlife. Away from campus, Newnans Lake is getting a new bathroom on the south side for the university’s rowing teams to use during practice, she said. And McCarty Woods Conservation Area, a 2.9-acre wild space at the intersection of Museum Road and Newell Drive, is one natural space identified as a potential future development lot, Dixon said. There is no set plan to alter the forest, but it is a possibility, she said. If it is developed, one acre of the woods would be left untouched, Dixon said. The rest would then hold a new “Future of Learning” academic building meant to combine professors and students of different subjects in a shared space instead of isolating them by field and major in separate buildings. The woods are currently home to the largest one-flowered haw tree in the country, as well as the biggest white ash tree in Florida, according to an educational PDF from the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. These main changes primarily affect UF’s main Gainesville campus. Other projects, like repairs and repurposing off-site buildings, are also outlined, but they will not greatly affect the majority of students, staff or local residents. If all proposed changes are approved and implemented, the university will gain about 2.3 million new square feet by June 2030, Dixon said. The board of trustees has the final say on approving these plans mid-spring semester. It is made up of 11 appointed members, the chair of the Faculty Senate and the UF student body president. In a December meeting, the board approved the UF 2020-30 Campus Master Plan, which is the foundation for the CDA. The trustees’ next scheduled board meeting is March 18 at Emerson Alumni Hall.