The Plaza of the Americas may see renovations, including more seating areas and a designated area for Krishna Lunch.
The UF Foundation, the organization spearheading the project, has amassed “serious donor interest” in the renovation, said Chandler Rozear, a project manager for the Architecture and Engineering Department at UF.
“(The Plaza) has gotten a little bit shabby and worn,” Rozear said. “It’ll be more formalized.”
The Plaza is designated a green area on campus, which means construction is prohibited, as stated on the admissions website.
Rozear said the renovation will only add benches and tables in the plaza, which is deemed acceptable by the university.
Alumni groups are open to seeing the plaza become a more welcoming place for students and student organizations to frequent, he said.
Areas of the design will enhance UF traditions like Krishna Lunch, which is considered an important element of the design project.
The organization will have a designated area on the west side of the plaza where students can sit and eat.
Another change will be to prevent vehicles from driving or parking on the plaza area.
But, Rozear said, the design will still welcome tailgaters.
Carter Boydstun, senior philanthropic adviser for the Foundation, said the plaza’s revitalization is dependent on donations from interested alumni.
The project has been planned for four years, going back and forth between administration officials and Foundation members.
“It’s a big deal and requires getting everyone in the administration on board,” he said.
Final drafts of the plaza’s design will be taken to the Land Use and Facilities Planning Committee on Feb. 4, Rozear said.
“The design will make the plaza even more functional than it is now,” Boydstun said. “Right now it’s not set up to hold an event or function.”
However, a main obstacle the renovation may face could be student displeasure with pedestrian traffic disruptions, said Jose Miranda, a 21-year-old UF political science and international studies senior.
Miranda, vice chair of the Reitz Union Board of Managers, was present when designs for the renovation were taking place.
“From my experience,” he said, “students mind a lot when construction or renovation of any kind happens to places they often frequent. There was a lot of displeasure when the Reitz construction began, and it took a lot of PR and marketing to promote it.”
A version of this story ran on page 1 on 1/17/2014 under the headline "UF Foundation plans upgrades for ‘worn’ Plaza of the Americas"
Renderings show plans for the renovation of the Plaza of the Americas