UF Cuts Trees For New Building, Promises To Replace Them
GAINESVILLE - Construction on the campus of UF is pretty common. But one new building is going to significantly change a landmark location on campus. The school of business will have a new building thanks to a major donor. But what will be sacrificed has some people up in arms.
Years worth of natural beauty on the grounds of a historic part of the University of Florida campus will soon be no more. Thomas Lukashow, an economics major at UF says, "I am kind of disappointed, this was really one of my favorite parts of campus. Like generally if I was going to give a tour to somebody it would be on of the first places I took them. I mean, despite the traffic, it is a really nice part of campus."
Over 100 trees and shrubs will be chopped down and a new UF building for undergraduate business majors will be born. This space between University Avenue and 13th Street has been chosen as the site for Heavener Hall. The University of Florida spokesperson tells me they plan to revamp this major entryway by making it pedestrian friendly and creating a courtyard between Heavener and Bryan Hall.
Evan Morris, a finance freshman, says this new building will help lessen the over crowding in his classes. "I am in one class that is in a hall in the old business building that has about 400 students, that is almost always packed. As well as another one that we have so many students they're actually kicking them out and they have to go watch online rather than sit through the live lecture," Morris says.
Heavener Hall will cost about 21 million dollars. Most of the funding for the building will be a gift from Bill Heavener the CEO of Full Sail University in Winter Park. Private funding from other donors will cover the rest.
Since UF is a state institution, it doesn't have to follow the city's tree ordinance. Letters showing concern for the trees have been written to the mayor saying things like, "I hate it when the state can supercede a community."
However for those who care about the environment all hope may not be lost, the university is committing to replacing them. Janine Sikes, with the University of Florida says, "We will be replacing twice as many trees and shrubs as we're removing, as a result of the project. Some will be on that particular location and some will be on other parts of campus."
Even though Morris looks forward to the new building he also hopes they'll keep their promise. "I am a little sad to see the historic campus change a little bit that i've grown up with living here in Gainesville."
There are tentative plans for construction to begin as early as late spring. The university's goal is to have the building open for the students in fall of 2014.
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