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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Board of Trustees shows support for UF development

The UF Board of Trustees unanimously voted to support a development plan that will shape the university and Gainesville community for 50 years.

On Thursday, the trustees met to discuss and vote on several items including the Strategic Development Plan and a future parking garage bond.

The board will meet again today at 9:30 a.m. to put several items to a final vote.

UF Chief Operating Officer Charlie Lane and David Manfredi, a consultant, gave a presentation to the board that outlined the foundation of a plan to further develop UF and the Gainesville community.

“We want to do things at UF that others will emulate,” Manfredi said, quoting UF President Kent Fuchs.

The goal of the plan, Lane said, is to bring the Gainesville community and UF community together in a mutually beneficial partnership.

Some of the ideas of the plan include expanding cultural areas at UF, establishing a start-up business culture and creating more buildings in areas around Newell Drive and West University Avenue.

The funding for the plan will come from university funds, UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes said.

“They approved the strategic plan in concept,” Sikes said. “It’s just an endorsement of the whole plan.”

Concerns expressed by Gainesville residents about future gentrification and affordable housing during strategic-development meetings were not discussed.

The board’s Finance and Facilities Committee approved the concept of a bond of an undetermined amount to fund building a new parking garage on Museum Road that would provide about 1,500 parking spaces. If approved today, the bond will be voted on by the Board of Governors.

The maximum cost of the project is $37.2 million, but the committee plans to settle on a lower cost after more discussion with the Board of Governors. Revenue for the bond will come from decal fees, parking fines and toll and meter parking.

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Curtis Reynolds, the vice president for UF Business Affairs, said the bond was approved in concept and that the board is exploring options to bring the cost down.

“We need to progress forward with the bond process,” he said.

Today, the Board of Trustees is voting on:

  • Contract between UF and graduate assistants affirming raises and fee reliefs
  • Bond for a new parking garage
  • Decreasing required credits and modifying the degree plan for the UF College of Pharmacy
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