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Pugh Hall opens its doors for students, faculty

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Posted: Tuesday, January 15, 2008 12:00 am

Don't be fooled by Pugh Hall's traditional brick exterior.

Despite its conservative look, the newly opened building is both innovative and high-tech on the inside.

The building, which had been under construction since June 2006, was finished mid-December in time to open for the new semester.

Teachers and staff have already settled into their new classrooms and offices, and classes began last week.

Located on Buckman Drive next to Dauer Hall, it is home to the Bob Graham Center for Public Service - named for the former U.S. senator from Florida and a UF alumnus - and holds classrooms, conference rooms, office space and a 230-seat lecture auditorium, all outfitted with state-of-the-art multimedia equipment.

Additionally, there is a two-story atrium designed as both a student lounge and an event venue.

"Senator Graham wanted a space that could be used as a forum for public speakers and presentations as well as a place where students could gather," said Walter A. Rosenbaum, interim director of the Graham Center.

Tiered booths line the sides of the Ocora for students to lounge on, while tables and chairs on the ground floor provide a place to sit and eat.

Biology freshman Carly Poor discovered the new building while looking for a class with a friend. She decided to come back and take advantage of the facilities.

"I thought the couches here were pretty cool," she said. "I'm just biding some time before my chemistry class."

A snack bar is scheduled to open in early February, said Jill Rodriguez, marketing program manager for Gator Dining Services. Although Pugh Hall has been structurally finished since December, some aspects of the building, like the snack bar, are still incomplete.

Landscaping is only partially done, and the building still needs an outdoor sign, said Howie Ferguson, senior project manager.

"We were a little bit worried that students would have class there and not know where the building was," he said.

Ferguson said that the loose odds and ends are still being worked on, but he is satisfied overall.

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