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Press Release for Friday, March 23, 2012

Two Weeks Left to Vote Student Union at UNF Top 100 Florida Building

Media Contact: Joanna Norris, Associate Director 

Department of Public Relations

(904) 620-2102


Floridians have just two weeks left to help pick the state’s No. 1 building in AIA Florida’s “Florida Architecture: 100 Years. 100 Places” competition . So far, a quarter-million votes have been cast, with UNF’s Student Union as the top-ranked building in the “Educational” category, while the building ranks No. 2 overall among all categories. AIA Florida also asked architects to vote for their favorite structure, and UNF’s Student Union is the favorite.


The Jacksonville community can help make the UNF Student Union the No. 1 building in the state by casting your vote as many times as you like at . Voting runs through Friday, April 6.


“We are thrilled that so many Floridians have participated in the Top 100 building competition,” said Peter W. Jones, president of AIA Florida. “The contest is close and I encourage everyone to vote often to make sure their favorite building is recognized.”


The Student Union is among 17 buildings in Jacksonville that have been selected for this recognition by the Florida Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, and is the only top-ranked Jacksonville building.


The overall highest ranked buildings are as follows:


                 1.       Fountainebleau Hotel (Miami Beach)

                 2.        University of North Florida Student Union (Jacksonville)

                 3.        Mandi’s Chapel (Live Oak)

                 4.        The Breakers Resort National Historical Landmark (Palm Beach)

                 5.        Florida Southern College (Lakeland)

Designed by Rink Design Partnership Inc., the 150,000-square-foot Student Union at UNF was completed in 2009. The $40.1 million facility was programmed to be the focal points for student activities and programs, dining facilities and offices for Student Government as well as the Division of Student and International Affairs.


The Student Union is in two parts separated by a student plaza, called Osprey Plaza, with a sunshade feature, which along with the curvature of the building, creates a most distinctive visual effect. Both buildings are three stories and are comprised of a steel structure with brick and metal cladding.    

The east building is mostly administrative and houses all Student Government functions, Student and International Affairs offices, a bank, a Starbucks and snack store, the game room and studios for Osprey Radio and Osprey TV. The west building contains a food court with five fast-food outlets on the main floor, the UNF Bookstore (two stories), the Boathouse restaurant and various meeting rooms on the second level, four ballrooms on the third level along with numerous student lounges and meeting rooms of various capacities.

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 by crowds attending concerts, performances, fairs and other events.

The Student Union follows the University’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.