Herbert Wertheim Laboratory for Engineering Excellence

The construction of the Herbert Wertheim Laboratory for Engineering Excellence is projected to cost more than $70 million, which is $20 million more than its projected cost. The building is located between the Reitz Union and Weimer Hall, and it will house study rooms and labs. Construction should be completed by next Spring.

 

An increased budget and delayed finish date was not the original plan for the construction of the Herbert Wertheim Laboratory For Engineering Excellence.

The construction was originally planned to be completed by Aug. 20, UF spokesperson Steve Orlando said. The building is scheduled to be completed next Spring and the projected cost is running $20 million more than the original budget. The building is located between the Reitz Union and Weimer Hall.

The project was originally projected to cost $53 million but is now expected to reach about $72.2 million, Orlando said. Herbert Wertheim donated $50 million to the college about three years ago.

The funding comes from several sources, including $28.4 million from Public Education Capital Outlay, $23.3 million from Wertheim, about $13 million from the College of Engineering and $3.6 million from UF.

The engineering dean and the project manager declined to comment and referred The Alligator to Orlando to answer questions on the project.

“It took longer to design than we anticipated — which means that construction costs were going up as the design progressed,” Orlando wrote in an email.

One reason for the increase was because it was hard to estimate where costs would be by the time materials were purchased, Orlando said.

Other planned features include study rooms and labs. The main labs will be a state-of-the-art biotechnology lab to study cancer, prototyping labs to progress new ideas and the telepresence lab to improve networking skills, Orlando said.

In the engineering program, students’ classrooms are dispersed across campus, said Sean O’Reilly, a 19-year-old UF computer science sophomore.

O’Reilly said he likes that the future engineering building will include all the branches of engineering because it will be helpful to network with other types of engineering students. He is also eager to work with up-to-date technology that the older buildings lack.

“The new building will provide a meeting place and a hub for me to grow as an engineer and do my part to innovate,” O’Reilly said. “But, I bet I won’t even get to use it because it’ll probably be done the second I graduate.”

Across campus, other construction projects include La Casita and the Institute of Black Culture, which are scheduled to open in Fall at 1504 and 1510 W. University Ave. It is funded by UF Capital Investment Trust Fund and will cost about $9.9 million.

The northern half of the Commuter Lot on Gale Lemerand Drive will also become Garage 14, a $32 million project that will add 2,000 new parking spaces by February 2020, according to the Transportation and Parking Services website.

Correction: This article was updated to reflect that the construction was originally projected to cost $53 million and to include all of the funding sources. The Alligator was originally given unclear information after the project manager referred The Alligator to talk to UF's spokesperson for the story.