Gainesville Community Reinvestment Area Relocates to the GTEC

A Fresh New Look to Reinvigorate the GTEC Building

Creating a warm and welcoming space that builds connections

When the Gainesville Community Reinvestment Area relocated their office to the GTEC building, they were looking to reinvigorate their workspace and create a collaborative work environment that can provide privacy when needed. Within a limited budget, they dreamed of creating a community space that would become the inspiration for future renovations to the Cornerstone Campus GTEC.

The new design has community at its heart, creating a warm and welcoming entrance and a lively space that builds connections. Taking an innovative approach to the work environment, this design eliminated all but one private office, integrating supervisors into a dynamic workspace with their teams. To encourage social interaction throughout the day, the kitchen area is freely accessible from the workspace, and casual furniture groupings provide teams with a variety of collaborative options.

By remaining in constant communication with the client and the construction team, Walker was able to work within the limited budget and transform this office into a collaborative and inviting community space that redefines what the workplace can be.

James W. Norman Hall has been known for decades as the nexus of the University of Florida's College of Education. It was designed and built in 1934 as a K-12 school, named for civic leader P.K. Yonge. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989, the building held the potential to be a gem of historic architecture on UF's campus. 

But building modifications over time buried distinctive architectural elements and the accumulation of critical repairs and maintenance seriously strained college resources. By the turn of the 21st century, Norman Hall no longer met the myriad needs of the students, faculty, and administrative staff who are learning, teaching and working throughout the building. 

The Past Informs Present-Day Design

Our design team was charged with rehabilitating historic Norman Hall to support 21st-century learning technologies while preserving the Hall's "collegiate Gothic" character. To give the facility a new life, we took cues from photographs of building interiors from the 1950s. We discovered that the main West entrance had been intended as a gathering place, but offices and storage rooms had encroached upon space and obstructed traffic flow. We began by prioritizing changes that would alter or remove interior structures to let in natural light, facilitate movement and create gathering spaces.

Project Owner

Gainesville Community Reinvestment Area


Gainesville, FL

Completion Date

February 2021

Project Size

3,156 SF





Consultant Company

Mitchell Gulledge Engineering



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