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Saturday, September 30, 2023

UF to close parking lot near Reitz Union

<p><span>Photo by </span><a href=";utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_content=creditCopyText">John Matychuk</a><span> on </span><a href=";utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_content=creditCopyText">Unsplash</a></p>

Photo by John Matychuk on Unsplash

UF can stand to lose hundreds more parking spots by the end of the year, thanks to a building that’ll take its place.

The surface parking lot at the corner of Museum Road and Center Drive across the street from the Reitz Union will close by the end of 2020, according to UF Transportation and Parking Services’ current master plan.

A new UF data science and information technology building will open on that site in November 2022, according to the UF Land Use and Facilities Planning Committee.

The surface lot, which is an orange faculty decal lot, has 350 spaces.

Linda Dixon, the director of campus planning, wrote in an email this location was chosen because the new building’s tenants will come from the UF health colleges to the south and the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering to the north.

There are no immediate plans for the lot across the street at the southeast corner of Museum Road and Center Drive next to Frazier Rogers Hall, Dixon said.

However, that side of the parking lot is listed as a future building site in the current campus master plan.

Dixon said there are no funds for the building yet for that site, but the university is updating its master plan for the next decade and will determine if a building goes there by 2030.

Craig Hill, UF’s associate vice president of business affairs, oversees parking and said parking options have to move when the campus evolves.

“This is nothing unusual for a college campus to have campus development relocate,” Hill said. 

Hill wrote in an email, “The new building will house faculty and researchers from the College of Medicine, College of Pharmacy, and the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering, who specialize in analyzing massive amounts of data to tackle complicated problems.”

He said multiple colleges will be able to recruit and retain accomplished faculty by offering them advanced facilities and the opportunity to join forces with other top researchers.

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This building will cost $135 million, according to Hill.

He said the university is looking at improving the pathway between Garage 14 and the new building.

“We are looking at landscaping and adding shade (to the path),” he said.

The new place to park for orange decal holders is Garage 14, which opened Feb. 3, located on Gale Lemerand Drive, farther from the center of campus. The seven-story garage cost $32 million and has more than 2,000 spaces, according to UF TAPS.

Levels one and two have 468 orange spaces, and levels three through five have 917 spaces shared between orange and blue faculty decals.

No other parking will be added to replace the loss of parking at the surface lot because of the abundance of parking currently at Garage 14.

Hill said that doesn’t mean the university is done adding parking structures.

“One of the possibilities is the surface lot next to Norman Field will be replaced by a new parking garage connected to the existing garage,” he said. “Another location could be a new garage on Museum Road just south of Beaty Towers.”

Contact Noah Ram at Follow him on Twitter @Noah_ram1. 

Photo by John Matychuk on Unsplash

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Noah Ram

Noah is a third year journalism-sports and media student from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. He has been with The Alligator since Spring 2019 and has covered men’s and women’s tennis, gymnastics and volleyball. When he isn’t on his beat, Noah is usually sadden over his beloved South Florida sports teams, such as the Heat and Dolphins.

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