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Many institutional and commercial organizations have undertaken system upgrades to cut facilities’ greenhouse gas emissions, and some have upgraded entire buildings to achieve this goal. A few have even revamped numerous buildings to achieve these goals and operate more sustainably overall. Then there is the University of Florida.
The university is embarking on a major infrastructure project. The $1.6 billion plan will bring the university’s campus to the level of top institutions around the country, advance its faculty and student recruitment, and boost its national prominence.
The project, known as the Strategic Campus Master Plan, outlines the way officials expect the university to grow and use its land in the coming decades. That plan will add 1 million gross square feet to the campus and includes dozens of projects forecast for the next 10 years and beyond.
“The buildings that we’re introducing now are going to change the fabric of the institution and make it more modern and contemporary,” said Charlie Lane, the university’s senior vice president and chief operating officer. “They are also a part of an effort to establish ourselves as paying attention to our traditions but at the same time being mindful of the evolution or transition to this century.”
Viewed as the university’s blueprint for the next 10-15 years, the plan presents a comprehensive transformation of the university’s physical campus, from the addition of new facilities to the renovation of residence halls and academic space and exploring the potential demolition of facilities that are past the end of their useful life. They explore improving the fluidity of campus to make it feel continuous and connected by making it more walkable and inviting.
To facilitate new state-of-the-art facilities, the university has issued an invitation to negotiate for a public-private partnership to build a new central energy plant, which will be more energy efficient and should reduce the university’s overall carbon emissions by 25 percent, according to a report by the Office of Sustainability, making it the largest step towards carbon reduction the university has taken in 15 years.
Dan Hounsell is senior editor for the facilities market.