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Monday, June 24, 2024

The expansion and renovation of the Reitz Union is on the horizon.

The UF Board of Trustees approved issuing $50 million in bonds Wednesday for the expansion only.

The renovation of the current union will draw from $20 million set aside from student fees and $5 million from internal university funds.

Before issuing the bonds, Gov. Rick Scott must sign a bill that would grant an exception for the limit on the amount of student fees that can be used for building construction projects.

Dave Kratzer, interim vice president for student affairs, said the project would get delayed if the bill met Scott’s veto pen.

As of late last week, the bill had not been presented to Scott.

If funding is approved, UF is expected to start construction on the 100,000-square-foot expansion next spring.

Administrators plan to seek bids this summer and find an architect in the fall.

The project is currently planned to be a three-story expansion where the colonnade is now, which would take a year, and a 75,000-square-foot renovation of the current union, which would take another year.

Kratzer said he wants students to be involved in designing the space, which will include dance studios, lounges and a new ballroom.

“The structure is really all about students,” he said.

Kratzer said staggering the expansion and renovation would allow UF to keep part of the union open throughout the construction period.

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Contact Joey Flechas at jflechas@alligator.org.

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