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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Reitz Union renovations to include improved bathrooms, lounge area, offices

By spring 2008, students looking for a place to chill in the Reitz Union will have more than the circular blue couch at the first floor entrance, according to one Reitz Union official.

Mike Mironack, director of operations for the Reitz Union, said the north side of the first floor would be undergoing renovation for the fall semester.

Mironack said the changes to the first floor include an open lounge area for students, much-needed administrative offices and updated restrooms.

The renovation is expected to cost about ,1.3 million. It will be paid for by the Capital Improvement Trust Fund, which uses student tuition money for nonacademic improvements at UF.

The restrooms warrant renovation, since they're some of the "most heavily used facilities on campus," Mironack said.

Though wood boards are blocking the north side of the building's first floor, Mironack said the entrance would not be closed down at any point during the semester.

The biggest nuisance students might face is a sign redirecting them to different commodes during the restrooms' updating, he added.

"Our goal is to minimize rerouting and inconvenience to our customers," Mironack said, specifying that everyone who comes into the Reitz Union is a customer.

He said the goal for renovating the current sparsely used lounge areas is to give students a place where they can "come hang out and do what they need to do."

The new lounge will include two-seat couches and better lighting.

It will also feature tablet armchairs and more electrical outlets for laptop users, Mironack said.

Administrative offices on the first floor will include enough space to house about 24 Reitz Union officials from the administrative staff and event and catering services, he said.

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For now, the three departments have been temporarily moved to the third floor, with multiple administrators sharing office space.

Mironack shares his office space, once a conference room, with three other coworkers.

Christopher Dudley, a UF freshman, said he definitely plans to use the new lounge facilities come spring.

Dudley said he has quite a long break between some of his classes and could use a lounge area with a guaranteed outlet to plug his laptop into.

"I haven't been around campus too much, but I haven't seen too many places where you can really do that like the Reitz and the Hub," he said.

He said while both places are centrally located, they're not the best places to search for outlets.

Lindsay Weaver, a UF journalism junior, expressed the same ideas, though she said she didn't think there was anything wrong with the women's restroom.

"I never noticed anything that showed it needed [renovation]," Weaver said, "but I'm not against anything that will make something look better."

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