From room expansions to film labs; everything new coming in Lassiter Hall renovation

Big changes await University of North Florida students when Lassiter Hall reopens—slated for the spring 2023 semester—to students after years of planning and contracting. The main inhabitants of the building will be the English Department and the Office of Interdisciplinary Studies. 

New resources for these programs will include a dedicated Creative Writing student workroom, a new film lab and a large multipurpose English conference room. There will also be graduate offices, common areas and the writing program—which was previously found in the Writing Center—will be transferred over.

The entrances and exits to interior rooms and the building itself are also being adjusted. The main entry room is being expanded and now connects with the rest of the building. 

English Department Chair Keith Cartwright said that the space could be used for movie screenings and theatrical performances in the future. New windows are also being installed to improve natural lighting because the old lighting was the kind that “creatures died under,” he joked. 

“We really tried to freshen up the space and make it more vibrant,” Richard Elmore, UNF assistant director of campus planning, design and construction, said.

The addition of window panels to the offices helps improve the artificial light in rooms, not on the outside.

A construction sign on a window of Lassiter Hall. (Nathan Turoff)

Like the old layout, much of the new one will of course have several offices for faculty. Whereas the old layout was “cumbersome,” according to Elmore, the new layout will have a “better flow.” 

Cartwright was extensively involved with the design and development of the remodel, something he said he greatly enjoyed doing. 

“It’s been awesome! […] It’s been beautiful. It’s great to be able to shape your own space,” he said. “To have a space to fit your needs, opening the whole building up. Wonderful!”

The remodel involved completely gutting and remodeling Lassiter Hall—at least the second floor. The first floor of the building, which includes Chick-Fil-A, was left mostly untouched aside from the addition of sprinklers. 

“Even with the dust of work it smells tremendously better in here,” Cartwright remarked during a tour of the building with Spinnaker. Elmore explained how Physical Facilities contributed by replacing the air units for both floors of the building, providing fresh air.

According to Elmore, the renovation was able to go much smoother due to the building having good “bones.” This allowed them to basically strip everything down to the core structure and make new spaces as needed.

An entrance to Roy Lassiter Hall. (Nathan Turoff)

“It’s been a great project turning an old building into a new structure and giving them a new facility to work in,” Auld & White contractor Chris Staffey, the company doing the renovation, said.

For the past semester, a section of land between the library and the Green has functioned as a sort of staging area for all their equipment and materials. Elmore explained how Auld and White contributed greatly to the project by managing supply chain issues.

As of mid-November, Elmore estimates that the work is 85% complete. The building is expected to be completed and ready to readmit students and faculty in time for the Spring 2023 semester.

“If everything goes according to plan, we should be able to hopefully get staff in here mid-December,” Elmore said.


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