The University of North Florida’s College of Education and Human Services and its Division of Student Affairs broke ground Friday for a two-story addition to house four university units.
The units include the Disability Resource Center, the Military and Veterans Resource Center, the On Campus Transition Program and the Institute for Values, Community and Leadership.
UNF held the event at the site of the addition in front of the College of Education and Human Services Building, which is on the west side of the core of the campus next to the Thomas G. Carpenter Library.
The structure will comprise nearly 16,000 square feet and will cost about $5.6 million. It will be contiguous with the southwest corner of the College of Education and Human Services Building.
“The University is especially grateful to (State) Sen. John Thrasher for his leadership in securing the funding from the state to construct this facility that will house four of our programs,” said UNF President John Delaney.
“I’m so proud that UNF is a compassionate campus, one that gives our students the resources they need to be successful,” he said.
The Disability Resource Center will be housed on the first floor, which will be 8,234 square feet and include an assistive technology lab, library, testing facilities and staff offices.
The Disability Resource Center began offering services in 1990 and serves 980 UNF students with diagnosed disabilities, ranging from learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD and physical or medical disabilities to psychological and emotional disabilities, blindness and deafness and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The Disability Resource Center offers accommodations such as extended time on exams, isolation for exams, note-takers and Assistive Technology, priority registration, e-books and recorded texts, interpreters and other need-based services.
The proximity of the center and the On Campus Transition departments to the students and faculty in the existing College of Education and Human Services Building will allow UNF education students to participate and engage in learning strategies, peer collaboration and research opportunities, said UNF officials.
The second floor of the structure, which will be 7,757 square feet, will be home to the On Campus Transition Program and Military and Veterans Resource Center as well as the Institute for Values, Community and Leadership. The space will include administrative offices, counseling rooms, a small reference library and group activity rooms.
The transition program, which UNF said is one of only eight programs of its kind around the state, began in fall 2006 and currently serves 25 students with intellectual disabilities.
The program is a partnership with The Arc Jacksonville, a nonprofit organization designed to help people with development and intellectual disabilities become physically, mentally, socially and economically independent.
UNF’s On Campus Transition students can remain in the program for a maximum of four years, selecting two-year or four-year tracks that mirror options provided to most college students.
The program enables transition students to learn and work alongside their same-age peers, to audit UNF courses, to be integrated and included in a diverse community and to live in integrated settings with other college students while learning how to become productive, independent and contributing members of society.
The transition program is part of a federal grant that provides technical assistance to startup and existing programs in the state.
UNF, named a “Military Friendly School” for 2011 and 2010 by G.I. Jobs magazine, began offering support services and programs to the military student population in November 2009 and opened the Military and Veterans Resource Center in August 2010,
The center assists UNF veteran and active military students with the admission, enrollment and financial aid processes, providing a supportive environment.
With 220,000 military veterans residing in Jacksonville, the center serves about 890 active duty, veteran and ROTC students.
The majority of these students, more than 650, are veterans certified to receive G.I. Bill education benefits for the spring term at UNF.
Last January, UNF received a nearly $218,000 gift from the Florida Braive Fund at The Community Foundation in Jacksonville, allowing UNF, in partnership with the City Military Affairs, Veterans and Disabled Services Department, the Jacksonville Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic, Naval Hospital Jacksonville and The Wounded Warrior Project, to work together.
UNF officials said the Institute for Values, Community and Leadership, which was established with a new focus a year ago, gives graduates in today’s competitive job market a way to set themselves apart through the “Leadership Certificate.” There are 400 students enrolled in the Leadership Certificate Program.
The institute guides students in building team processes, running meetings, speaking publicly and learning other leadership skills.
The College of Education and Human Services addition will follow UNF’s other new buildings on campus as a “green” building, meaning it uses energy-saving measures, recycled materials and natural light to improve the work environment.
Baker Barrios Architects in Orlando designed the facility and PPI is the construction management firm for the project, which is estimated to be completed next January.