UF to kick off Waldo Road building boom


Published: Wednesday, July 1, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, June 30, 2009 at 11:23 p.m.

The University of Florida is breaking ground this month on a new building on its eastside campus, the start of a building boom at the Waldo Road site.

The three-story, 85,000-square-foot structure will house administrative functions and as many as 700 university employees.

UF is borrowing about $15 million from its foundation to pay for construction, expected to be complete in April 2010.

The building is among several slated for the 12-acre property, used by the Florida Department of Transportation until 2003.

UF next is planning to build a $12 million data center there, said Ed Poppell, vice president for business affairs.

The center would provide a central location for UF's various computer servers, he said, cutting down on utility costs required to cool servers in various spots around campus.

It also would provide security functions by having a backup location for data off the main campus.

SCULPTURE SCRAPPED: The sculpture that used to be in front of UF's Fine Arts Building has been scrapped.

Last week, I wrote about the removal of the sculpture in the wake of vandalism. Some suggested the art be restored in another location, but it's apparently too late.

The sculpture was recycled on Friday, College of Fine Arts spokeswoman Denise Krigbaum said.

Nancy Grissom questioned the decision. She's the widow of Eugene Grissom, former fine arts department chairman at UF.

"It's very obvious that there's a great number of people in this community that would have opposed the destruction of that piece of art," she said.

The sculpture had historical significance, Grissom said, so efforts should have been made to raise money for its preservation.

She said it was an insult to creative people in the community that it was destroyed.

BELT TIGHTENING: UF employees will be traveling less and their trash baskets will stay full longer under the latest budget cuts.

UF announced last week it is aligning its travel policies with restrictions recently placed on state agencies. The new policy limits travel to activities deemed critical to the university's mission.

The policy lists research conferences and seminars as examples of "mission critical travel."

An example of travel that might not be allowed is attending a ceremonial building dedication.

Budget cuts also mean 14 vacant custodial positions cannot be filled, so services will be reduced, said David O'Brien, UF's assistant vice president for business affairs.

Trash cans will be emptied once a week, instead of the current three times. Vacuuming will be reduced, while building stairwells and glass entryways will be cleaned less often.

The changes apply to offices, but not classrooms, restrooms and other common areas.

"We don't think it's a big deal," O'Brien said. "It's going to save us a little bit of money."

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