Student Union birthday celebration

Lydia Moneir

The Student Union, the first landmark building on campus.
The Student Union, the first landmark building on campus.

Many students may be surprised to learn the Student Union was built only four years ago. Current SU staff celebrated the building’s birthday Sept. 4 in one of its ballrooms.

Before the Student Union existed, that space on campus was taken up by parking lots three and four.

David Crabtree, Director of the Student Union, has been working at UNF since 1986, when the student center — a game room, meeting rooms, a small auditorium — was located in building 14. Crabtree said it was necessary to build a new facility because as the student population grew, so would their needs.

David Crabtree, Director of the Student Union, has worked at UNF since 1986. Photo from video by Lydia Moneir
David Crabtree, Director of the Student Union, has worked at UNF since 1986.
Photo from video by Lydia Moneir

Crabtree said the Student Union cost $50 million, the majority of which came from student fees and bonds. This means students today are still paying off the loan through their Student Union fees.

“We decided early on that this was going to be one of the first landmark construction pieces on campus. When you’re going for a landmark building you don’t churn out boxes,” he said.

Crabtree said it took a lot of enthusiasm and desire from Student Government at the time to push for and support the construction of this hallmark on campus.

“I love this building. Honest to God, I walked probably six to seven miles a day inside this building in the first three or so years that we were in it,” Crabtree said.

William Parker, Productions Specialist at the Student Union, used to work at the Andrew Robinson Theater and said he likes working at SU because of the flexibility offered.

“Every major university in the state has a Student Union of some form or another, so $50 million is a lot of money, but there’s a lot more to do here than there was before it was here, outside of academia,” Parker said.

Email Lydia Moneir at [email protected]