By Tina Meketa, University Communications and Marketing
One of USF’s most iconic structures is undergoing a much-needed renovation. The 26-year-old water tower located on the Tampa campus is getting repaired and will soon be painted with a yet-to-be-revealed design – helping extend its lifespan. It hasn’t been painted in more than a decade or received any significant construction improvements since that time.
"The 87 projects on this list represent the greatest needs of our aged and/or failed infrastructure across the three USF campuses." – Scot Berrian, assistant director of Design and Construction, Office of Administrative Services
The 212-foot tower is responsible for pressurizing and supplying drinking water to the majority of buildings on campus. Its revitalization is one of the most publicly recognizable projects being funded by an investment of nearly $73 million in last year’s state budget to support USF’s Capital Renewal Program, which addresses a portion of the university’s deferred maintenance needs.
The Office of Administrative Services, which oversees facilities management, used an inclusive process that involved input from representatives from all three campuses to identify 87 critical projects. The projects on each campus mostly pertain to utility and plant operations, such as electrical, fire alarm and HVAC systems, as well as roof repair and replacement. USF Facilities Management recently unveiled an interactive map, allowing students, faculty and staff to view the location of each project and track its status.
“What the USF community isn’t always aware of, are the critical infrastructure and utility systems that support the entire campus,” said Hari Patel, director of Facilities Information Services. “More than half of this funding is going to projects that support utility infrastructure or multiple facilities. We wanted to bring transparency and awareness to the USF community about these projects and the areas they will impact.”
Approximately 40 percent of the roofs on the Tampa campus are at or beyond the recommended age for replacement. The one in greatest need of attention belongs to the John and Grace Allen Building, the first building to be constructed when the university was established in 1956. While repairs have been made over the years, the roof has never been replaced and is long past its expiration.
Heat, ventilation and air conditioning needs are also being addressed with the replacement of 12 HVAC systems, with most of the work getting started early next year.
“I love the Allen Building and the beautiful courtyard. I’ve worked in the building since 2010. Sometimes it’s extremely cold in the office and other times it’s uncomfortably humid. We are really looking forward to the improvements,” said Risa Blake, administrative specialist in the Student Ombuds Office.
In addition to the Ombuds Office, the Allen Building is home to several other departments, including the Office of Veteran Success, Office of Graduate Studies and some Student Success offices. It also houses the Judy Genshaft Honors College, which is moving into its new building next month.
“Over the nine years that I’ve worked in the Allen Building, we have had several leaks from the roof into classrooms and offices,” said Charles Adams, dean of the Judy Genshaft Honors College. “The HVAC system similarly needs a complete overhaul. Sometimes it’s unbearably hot in the classrooms and offices, sometimes it’s freezing, and sometimes it’s both stifling and freezing depending on where you are in the building. We’re very grateful to the state for providing funding so that these conditions can finally be addressed.”
These projects are set to be completed throughout the next three years, with the revitalized water tower ready by the start of the fall semester. The Office of Administrative Services is working closely with the Office of Supplier Diversity in its efforts to promote upcoming construction work opportunities. More information on those opportunities can be found here.