UF Eastside Campus buys trailer park land

A general view of the front of the University of Florida's Eastside Campus off Waldo Road.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 6:29 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 6:29 p.m.

The University of Florida Eastside Campus is expanding and recently purchased about three acres of a trailer park near the site for parking.

Ed Poppell, vice president of business affairs, said UF purchased about three acres south of a road that separates Ideal Trailer Park adjacent to the campus and includes a wooded parcel that fronts NE 23rd Avenue across from NE 19th Drive west to the entrance of the campus, also on NE 23rd Avenue. The purchase does not include the land where the mobile homes are located.

"We have a need for parking," said Poppell, adding that construction of a 15,000-square-feet data center is expected to begin later this year. He said there are no plans for further expansion outside of the current boundary.

Neil Malphurs, one of the trustees of Ideal Trailer Park, said the parking improvements planned by UF will enhance the rest of the (Ideal Trailer Park) property.

"I hope they (UF) will expand further," Malphurs said.

Linda Dixon, assistant director of the facilities, planning and construction division at UF, said that to accommodate the land purchase, UF is requesting a zoning change from the city from mobile home to education.

Dixon said the 12-acre Eastside Campus, formerly a Department of Transportation facility, was transferred to UF in 2004.

"The Eastside Campus houses a mix of groups (including) office-type functions," said Dixon, adding that some of the groups include UF administrative offices, research programs by the College of Engineering, a hurricane research center, an office of information technology, business offices and more.

Fred Rowe, project manager of the Eastside Campus, said there are 450 permanent employees at the site and another 100 visitors and trainees that come periodically.

The proposed data center would account for less than 10 employees.

Rowe said the proposed data center will feature a brick exterior, in keeping with the design of a new 81,000-square-feet three-story brick office building completed last summer.

The campus also features a materials instruction building, three smaller older buildings to be demolished in the near future, a larger one-story renovated building that is attached to a two-story brick building to be renovated in the future, one small block building and one small metal building,

"It is a great location and works very well for the university," Rowe said.

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