An Inviting New Facility for An Essential Civil Service

Tax Collector New Northwest Branch

The Alachua County Tax Collector’s office has pursued and won multiple awards for excellence in customer service. When it came time to replace the Northwest Branch facility, the building needed to reflect this dedication to customers and employees.

With this clear goal of fostering a strong company culture and supporting the wellbeing of employees and customers alike, we at Walker Architects worked closely with end users to design a space that offers a quality work environment, efficient customer experience, and a high degree of flexibility. 

The new workspace features private enclaves for staff as a respite to the open workstations. An inviting break area fully opens to the adjoining conference rooms, doubling the team’s social space. 

We paid careful attention to traffic flow and the relationship between customer and employee. The line between public and employee space is defined by furniture solutions, allowing for adaptation as needs and operations change over time.

The top priority from day one was the people. Integrating the team who would use the space during the whole design process resulted in a workplace where they are comfortable, supported, and better able to serve the greater community.

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

Alachua County Tax Collector


Gainesville, FL

Completion Date

December 2021

Project Size

16,700 GSF



Builder company

Oelrich Construction



Walker's design process has enabled their team to be fully engaged. The opportunity to include users is fundamental to building a space that is tailored to their needs, and they appreciate that our process thrives and delivers on this.

John Power, Alachua County Tax Collector


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