UF’s Plaza of the Americas renovations scheduled to begin next week

November 23, 2016
Carter Boydstun
photographer: David Conner + Associates

Renovations to the Plaza of the Americas, one of the most popular outdoor spaces on the University of Florida campus, are scheduled to begin the week of Nov. 28 and are expected to last about six months.

Located in UF’s historic district, the plaza represents the heart of the campus to students, faculty, staff and alumni. Over 1.2 million people use and traverse the plaza each year.

a rendering of newell drive looking southMurphree Way bordering the Plaza of the Americas

Renovations will include new and widened pedestrian sidewalks and infrastructure improvements, as well as plans to preserve the lawn and tree canopy. Other highlights will include:

  • a central space at the north end to accommodate student groups on a decorative hardscape platform for special events and general group uses;
  • new seating and tables on the west side to provide permanent seating for student general use and group functions;
  • new benches along sidewalks and in other areas;
  • wifi throughout the plaza area and new emergency blue phones with speaker/alert capabilities;
  • pipe bollards to prevent driving and parking on the plaza; and
  • conversion of a service drive on the plaza’s east side to a brick pedestrian walkway.

The project is expected to cost $2.2 million. Private donors, led by Herb and Catherine Yardley working with UF President Kent Fuchs, have contributed over $1.3 million.

a rendering of newell drive looking south

Newell Drive looking south

UF hired the Tampa landscape architecture firm David Conner + Associates to outline a strategy for improving the plaza, originally designed as the University Quadrangle in the 1920’s, to ensure it would be preserved and enhanced. This strategy has been incorporated into UF’s Strategic Development Plan which seeks to provide a roadmap for smart growth, innovation and collaboration over the next 40 to 50 years.

The construction area will be fenced off with pedestrian directional signage around the perimeter of the project site until work is complete. The work will be done in two stages with the east side of the plaza being renovated first.

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