Kristina Perez is excited she can now walk through the Reitz Union food court to the Constans Theatre without leaving the building.
The UF telecommunication freshman was one of hundreds of students who checked out the newly renovated Reitz Union on Monday. Some stayed and studied in the Reitz Union’s lounge areas.
“As a total theater nerd, this is the greatest thing,” Perez said. “I can get food and run to the show.”
Perez was also excited by the extra seating in the food court.
“Before you had to give up your first born to find seating,” the 19-year-old said.
But she said there were too many stairs for her taste.
“If I didn’t climb enough stairs at Jennings, I definitely am now,” she said.
Yen Le, a UF sociology junior, and Kevin Chong, a UF advertising senior, walked through all three floors. The two circled the Reitz Union, walking back and forth through it.
“I’m still gathering my thoughts,” Le said. “It’s still kind of confusing and so big.”
Le, 21, said she likes having another place to lounge around on campus.
“There is definitely a lot of spots I can see myself hanging out in,” Le said.
For Chong, 21, seeing the space completed reminds him of before construction began. He said he used to visit the outdoor amphitheater behind the Reitz. Now that the renovation is finished, it’s back.
“I am a senior now, but that used to be our area where we would hang out,” he said. “It’s nice to know that it’s back.”
Meanwhile, Darcy Schild, a UF journalism freshman, sees this space as a place to make new traditions.
“My parents are going to be in town tomorrow,” she said. “I’m excited to be able to show them.”
She said she likes having different places to sit, such as the Social Stairs, a staircase with outlets so students can study on the steps. There are also couches and swivel chairs.
“I’ve been testing out all the new chairs,” the 19-year-old said. “I love the swivel chair.”
Schild said she thought the building had a new smell.
“I love the smell,” she said. “It smells like a new car.”
Nick Goble, a 19-year-old UF natural resource conservation freshman, looks out the window of the top floor of the new Reitz Union building while 18-year-old UF journalism freshman Karry Butdorf looks around the room. Goble said they were out exploring the new building.