New Plans for Historic Newell Hall on University of Florida Campus
Published November 28th, 2012
GAINESVILLE - An historic building on the University of Florida campus could soon be getting a new lease on life.
Newell Hall has been a fixture on the UF campus for more than a century, and is even listed on the National Register of Historic Places. But after restoration funds for the building dried up during the height of the recent economic recession, University officials considered boarding up the building. That is, until new funds were discovered, allowing the hall to undergo it's first major renovation project since World War II.
Preliminary plans for the building call for the inside to be gutted and turned into a new library and study area for students, costing a total of $13 million. The money was found after original revenue estimates for UF's new building fee imposed on students were revised upward. Whereas officials originally thought the fee would generate $20 million in additional revenue, the latest estimates increased that total to $33 million, freeing up money to be used for this project.
"Newell Hall is literally part of the foundation of our university," said T.J. Villamil, president of the UF Student Government. "The fact that we're going to be able to renovate it with $13 million dollars, and make it into a building of tomorrow is something that's extremely exciting and something that all the students should be looking forward to," he said.
Even though the building is pretty much abandoned at this point, any construction on the inside of Newell Hall cannot begin until the plan is approved by the University's Board of Trustees, which is set to vote on the plan next week. If approved, officials expect the new Newell Hall study center will be complete and ready to open by the fall of 2014.
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