The University of North Florida is asking the state for $26 million to renovate and expand buildings
UNF alumnus and Jacksonville State Representative Clay Yarborough, R-Jacksonville, is sponsoring two funding bills after UNF approached him about the projects.
“I very quickly said yes,” Yarborough said. “Will we get everything we ask for this year? I don’t know. It’s a tall ask. But I definitely told them I would push it and try to get it funded.”
The bigger project would cost $22 million and connect Honors Hall to the Coggin College of Business building next to it.
“We would be taking basically sort of a breezeway, sidewalks and stairs that are between our Honors Hall and the Coggin College of Business and filling that in to create more than 12,000 square feet of additional instructional space,” said UNF’s vice president of Governmental Affairs Janet Owen.
Owen said the additional classrooms are needed for a coming-soon master’s in logistics and supply chain management program and a recently-added master’s degree in management program.
“We have had 240 graduate students already in this [management] program and the interesting thing is that it’s also contributing to growth in our MBA program,” she said.
The smaller $4 million project calls for renovating the second floor of Roy Lassiter Hall, the home of UNF’s English department. Lassiter Hall was built in the 1970s and would get an interior update that includes new technology and bringing it in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Owen said she knows UNF is making a big ask with the appropriation bills and said it’s not unusual for projects of this size to take two to three years for full funding from the legislature.
Last year UNF asked for $7 million in renovation money for the Science and Engineering building and received $6,390,000. A second $3 million renovation project was vetoed by Governor Rick Scott.
Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride.