UNF Officially Opens $50 Million Student Union
The University of North Florida has officially opened the doors of its new Student Union, with a ribbon-cutting and grand opening ceremony held at Osprey Plaza on campus.
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. The new addition to campus is located between the College of Education and Human Services and the UNF Arena.
"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, of 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.
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.