University of Florida wants to spend $2.2 billion on campus overhaul

Twittter/@UF via CNN

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The University of Florida wants to embark on a decade-long, multi-billion growth spurt that would change the face of the university.

The Gainesville Sun reports Florida’s flagship university is hoping to spend around $2.2 billion on a capital improvement plan that includes a new honors college, athletic dorms, a new student health facility, academic buildings and landscaping.

But getting the money will be a challenge.

University of Florida President Kent Fuchs said there isn’t enough money in the bank to make the plans happen overnight.

“We don’t have the resources right now to make it happen,” Fuchs said. “We have to find the resources to make it possible.”

The growth plans coincide with the school’s effort to earn a spot among the top five public universities.

Among the top priorities are renovating dorms and building an honors college.

Building an honor college complex that would impress the country’s brightest students would give it a better shot at recruiting them, said Charlie Lane, the school’s chief operating officer.

“We’re trying to recruit the best and brightest students ... part of that is providing great living situations,” Lane said. “The housing we have right now, we feel doesn’t serve the need in that regard.”

The proposed $175 million honors college complex would have 1,400 beds and a social and learning space with a lounge and study rooms. A commons area would include a library, honors college offices, 14 meeting rooms and several more study rooms. Also planned for the complex are a recreational facility and a park-like lawn.

The university also wants to build a 500-bed dorm for athletes and other students.

Both projects would be finished by 2023.

The university plans to renovate some dorms and demolish others.

Lane said the university’s biggest challenge would be its landscaping plan, which includes closing some roads to create pedestrian walkways and a plaza at a cost of $20 million.

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