by Caroline Gabsewics
The University of North Florida (UNF) celebrated its fourth groundbreaking ceremony in less than a year Thursday by pouring the first block of cement for the university’s new College of Education and Human Services Building.
The three-story, 98,000-square-foot building will house classrooms, teaching labs, faculty offices, auditoriums, meeting space and student services. The building is scheduled to be complete in Spring 2009.
“This will be a stunning addition to the campus,” said UNF President John Delaney. “This is the space the university needs to help produce tomorrow’s leaders in the education field.”
The building is planned to be state-of-the-art and equipped with specially designed rooms for teaching method classrooms and a model technology classroom for preparing educators to work with technology. Also included will be an American sign language lab and a large multi-purpose room.
Delaney said future plans for the building include a 6,000-square-foot disability resource center to meet the needs of the increasing number of students with disabilities graduating from UNF.
“It is a perfect example of the college and the center working together,” he said.
Dr. Larry Daniel, dean of the College of Education and Human Services, said he is excited to see the long-awaited project unfold.
“This is almost a surreal day,” said Daniel, who has been with the university for eight years. “We have been planning this for so many years.”
Daniel added that one of the most exciting aspects of the project will be that the college will all be under one roof. There are currently 2,000 students enrolled in the College of Education and Human Services.
Daryl Everett, a senior at UNF and president of the Student Council for Exceptional Children, said this new building is a major milestone for the college and university as a whole.
Everett will graduate from UNF this May with a degree in special education and deaf studies, and she also plans to receive her master’s degree from UNF in the same area of study.
Aside from Thursday’s latest groundbreaking, dirt is being moved and structures are being built at all ends of the UNF campus.
“There is an amazing amount of construction going on on campus,” said Delaney. “This is our fourth project. It’s incredible.”
Since July 26, 2007, the Brooks College of Health building has been undergoing an expansion. The new four-story addition is scheduled to be complete this Fall.
On Sept. 19, 2007, UNF broke ground on the new Student Union Building. The three-story project will include two buildings connected by an open-air plaza. The buildings are expected to be complete in the summer of 2009.
The third groundbreaking was Oct. 24, 2007 for the new Osprey Fountains Residence Hall. The ceremony also celebrated the university’s 35th anniversary. The five-story residence hall will have space to house 1,000 students and is also scheduled to be complete in the summer of 2009.
The university’s Social Sciences Building was the school’s first LEED-certified “green” building. These four latest buildings will also be LEED-certified.
“This has been an incredible run for the university,” said Delaney. “This is the 35-year-old university’s maturation phase.”