Contact: Joanna Norris, Assistant Director
Department of Media Relations and Events
of North Florida today officially opened the doors of
its new Student Union, a place students can call their own, with a
ribbon-cutting and a grand opening ceremony held at Osprey Plaza
The new 150,000-square-foot Student
Union is comprised of two, three-story buildings, referred to as 58 East and 58
West. It features eight meetings rooms, a 5,200-square-foot ballroom and a
244-seat auditorium. This stunning new addition to campus is located between
the College of Education and Human Services and the UNF
“There’s a sense of genuine excitement on
campus as we intentionally cultivate a living, learning environment where
students are encouraged and empowered, in and out-of-the classroom, to grow in
positive, productive dimensions,” said Mauricio Gonzalez, vice president for
Student and International Affairs at UNF.
Connecting the two buildings is a large covered outdoor area called Osprey Plaza.
The area is landscaped with tables and chairs and will be used in the future
for Market Days and possibly Farmer’s Markets. Justin Camputaro, director of
the Student Union, foresees the plaza as a place for people to hold small
events or simply eat, read, chat and enjoy the weather.
“This is a very unique design with the covered plaza in
the middle of the buildings. Most modern designs are all interior and have a
mall-like style,” he said. “We decided to make that open space outdoors, taking
advantage of the Florida
weather as best we can.”
The Student Union cost $50.4 million
to build, which $36 million came from student funding, and will serve as the
hub for student activities on campus. It houses nine Student Affairs
departments and offers several services including a food court, restaurant, Lufrano
Intercultural Gallery of Art, UNF Bookstore and Community First Credit Union.
Some of the several Student Affairs
departments that call the Student Union home are Student Government, Center for
Student Media, Fraternity & Sorority Life, Interfaith
Center and the Intercultural Center
The Student Government space includes a
business office, senate chambers and the Student Government chambers complete
with state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment. The new Student Union also
features a game room—holding up to 100 people—with four pool tables, two
pingpong tables, televisions, video games and a section called The Hub, where
up to 12 people can compete simultaneously on computer games.
“The new Student Union helps to give
all students a sense of belonging on campus—a place they can really call their
own,” said John Barnes, UNF student and president of Student Government.
The food court offers several dining
options for students such as Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina, Quiznos, Coyote Jack’s
Grill and Chef Yan Can Cook. There is also the new Boathouse restaurant. The
old Boathouse, overlooking a lake near the Coggin College of Business, was the
unofficial center of campus and University activities. Between the two food
venues, there is a capacity to serve more than 750 people.
One of the most unique elements of
the Student Union is a 108,000 square-foot grass amphitheater with a permanent
stage. Located behind the west building, the amphitheater, which can seat 6,000
spectators, is constructed with a nine-degree elevation for optimum viewing for
crowds attending concerts, performances, fairs and other events.
The new Student Union will follow UNF’s
other new buildings on campus as a certified “green” building, meaning it uses
energy-saving measures, recycled materials and natural light to improve the
work environment. The University is striving to reach the Silver level of
certification for the student facility and will be the first student union in Florida to be certified
at the Silver level.
Rink Design Partnership, Inc. were the architects for
the building and Elkins Construction, Inc. served
as the contractors on the project.
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