UNF Master Plan Explained; What changes can students expect in the next few years?

Nathan Turoff, Features Editor

Every 10 years, state-funded Universities like UNF are required to craft a master plan to submit to the Board of Governors (BOG). This master plan covers many proposed improvements and changes to UNF’s campus for the next decade. These include capital improvements, building remodels, construction of new housing and parking complexes, and much, much more. 

Spinnaker met with the Director of Campus Planning, Design & Construction, Paul Stewart, to help explain this massive, 146-page document, and what the future may look like for UNF’s campus. He described it as a “vision of where the campus will go”

Screenshot from Master Plan showing proposed buildings, courtesy of UNF

Director Stewart explained how certain projects move forward, while some take more time. The master plan is a “fluid document”, and many things can and will change.

But why is this the case? Director Stewart explained how funding is the deciding factor, as that’s how things are constructed. The State of Florida has a large amount of funds that they allocate to Florida’s 12 universities in the State University System of Florida, including UNF. 

“We vie for available dollars with other universities,” said Stewart.

There are certain exceptions, as Athletics is self funded, and some small things are funded by Student Government, but the majority of projects comes from state funding. Some projects have a higher priority than others in the master plan, but Director Stewart was very adamant about how funding overcedes this.

“Funding trumps anything priority,” he emphasized.

While sometimes private donors step forward, as was the case with the expansion to the Brooks College of Health, that is not a frequent occurrence, so they do not rely on it in planning, although they do openly accept donations if offered.

But what is coming sooner? Most Current UNF Students will not be around to see changes 10 years from now. However, certain projects have already been fully funded and approved, with many having already started construction or will be starting construction in the next few months.

 Screenshot of investments to pedestrian infrastructure, courtesy of UNF.

Most of these projects are improvements to walkways and other similar enhancements. Some, such as the addition of a path through Lot 9, and the improved walkway along Candy Cane Lake, were previously covered in-action by Spinnaker. In regards to the latter project, Director Stewart explained how it isn’t completely finished yet. They plan to add lights to the walkway outside Osprey Hall, add a fountain into the middle of Candy Cane Lake, and replace the wire barrier with actual railing for the section of the boardwalk next to the Andrew Robinson Theatre.


 The wire that will be replaced by a handrail, and the future location of the fountain behind it, Photo by Nathan Turoff

There are two more walkway improvements that will be made in the coming months. These come in the forms of a new boardwalk crossing the lake and leading directly into Osprey Crossings. This is designed to take pressure off the sidewalk with a safer, faster alternative. A visualization of the new path can be seen with the large dashed line in the map below.

 Screenshot of Map of Enhancements to Pedestrian walkways, courtesy of UNF

Some other enhancement involves replacing the slightly angled generic asphalt pavement to Lot 14 with a straight line elevated boardwalk that is described in the Master Plan as being “similar to the existing pathway from the Fountains.” This change can also be seen on the above map.

The last major project that is fully funded and nearing the start of construction is the remodel of Roy Lassiter Hall. It is described in the plan that it “provides the second floor of Roy Lassiter Hall, Building #8, with a more efficient use of the space and all new finishes for the building users”. A similar description of the remodel was provided by Director Stewart.

In regards to the infamous parking situation, Director Stewart was very well aware of the inconvenience offered by the current parking system. The Master Plan includes several additions of additional parking lots, but they are not funded yet, and will unfortunately not be happening for some time, but are in the works.

It cannot be overstated how these plans are ever-changing, and UNF does make official changes to the master plan every five years. Spinnaker will keep you updated as plans are changed, construction is started, and projects are completed. 

The Master Plan and various other information can be found here.

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