Emphasizing a Sense of Place for Gators

UF J. Wayne Reitz Student Union Expansion

The renovation and expansion of J. Wayne Reitz Student Union has breathed new life into the heart of the University of Florida. Partnering with CannonDesign, our focus during construction management on student and staff engagement led to meaningful conversations and valuable workshops, helping us meet a broader range of occupant needs for generations to come. Our design team and UF stakeholders coined the term "making it Reitz" - a mantra for maintaining a focus on engagement throughout the design process.

Splitting our efforts on this 1967 building into 2 phases ensured uninterrupted access for UF's 50,000 students, allowing it to continue serving as a vibrant hub of campus life throughout construction.

The 118,000 square-foot addition in phase 1 introduced many modern amenities to enhance the student experience. Our design of the entry and food court areas create a welcoming ambiance, while meeting rooms, lounges, dance rehearsal studios, and a spacious ballroom provide versatile spaces for collaboration, creativity, and socialization.

In phase 2, a 90,000 square-foot renovation turned our focus to sustainability. We designed energy-efficient windows and doors, and ensured exterior surfaces and structural components underwent careful restoration. We also included upgrades to the electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems to improve efficiency.

The transformation of this historical building supports UF's commitment to providing a dynamic, inclusive, and sustainable environment. We were honored to meet with students and staff to ensure their voices were heard early in the process.


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.

Project Owner

University of Florida


Gainesville, FL

Completion Date

January 2016

Project Size

207,498 SF (89,250 sf renovation,
118,248 sf addition)





Delivery Method

Construction Management


Architectural: CannonDesign; MEPF: KJWW Engineering (now IMEG Corp.); Structural: Structural Engineers Group; Civil: Causseaux, Hewett, & Walpole; Commissioning: Affiliated Engineers SE

LEED Certification



ENR Southeast: Best Higher Education / Research Project


Selected Works

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UF J. Wayne Reitz Student Union ExpansionEmphasizing a Sense of Place for Gators

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Clinical Techniques & Skills Assessment LabDelivering a Premier Clinical Simulation Lab

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Basic Science Building Lab Renovation, Phase 2Designing an agile lab environment for UF Basic Science.

UF Norman Hall RehabilitationCollege of Education Revisioning

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Gainesville Community Reinvestment Area Office at GTECA Fresh New Look to Reinvigorate the GTEC Building

UF College of Veterinary Medicine AdditionStandalone addition to the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida.

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