Utilized for various conferences, classes, weddings, and other events, the Austin Cary Conference Center is located on a wooded site adjacent to Lake Mize. Ample daylighting and a series of wooden decks allow users to gather while enjoying the natural beauty of the site. The new facility is fully accessible and easy to maintain while respecting the heritage of its predecessor by incorporating natural cypress elements, and also houses a catering kitchen with a concession window opening to an expansive lakefront deck.
The renovation and expansion of the Reitz Student Union, built in 1967, expanded facilities, services, and programs supporting the University of Florida’s diverse campus community, increased energy efficiency, reduced operational costs, and greatly enhanced comfort and functionality.
Phase 1, the 100,000 sf addition, included entry and food court renovations, meeting rooms, lounges, dance rehearsal studios, a ballroom, and offices and support space for the Center for Leadership and Service, the Department of Student Activities and Involvement, the Office of Multicultural and Diversity Affairs, GatorWell Health Promotion Services, and student clubs and organizations.
Phase 2, the 50,000 sf renovation, included new energy-efficient windows and doors, restoration of exterior surfaces and structural components, replacement and upgrades of electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems, and upgrades to interior finishes and lighting.
Careful phasing ensured that the Reitz continued to serve UF’s 50,000 students throughout construction.
University of Florida IFAS
The Brentwood Company
MEPF: Moses & Associates; Structural: Structural Engineers Group; Civil: Causseaux, Hewett, & Walpole
The community's physical and emotional ties to the site are strong and enduring. After a 2011 fire claimed the conference center built by donors and volunteers in 1986 to replace the original building (also lost to fire), the University of Florida School of Forest Resources and Conservation set out to create a new conference building reflecting the enhanced needs of current and future faculty, staff, students, and visitors.
The new conference center needed to continue to serve not only SFRC students and faculty; the broader community in Gainesville and North Florida also has a history and a future with the building. Every year, thousands of people from numerous local organizations utilize the building for events ranging from lectures, symposia, and retreats to award banquets and weddings.