J. Wayne Reitz Union
|University of Florida
J. Wayne Reitz Union
|Location||Gainesville, Florida, USA|
|Renovated||1975, 1992, 1998, 2002, 2016|
|Design and construction|
The J. Wayne Reitz Union is the student union of the University of Florida, located on Museum Road on the university campus in Gainesville, Florida. The building, which was originally completed in 1967, contains dining facilities, meeting rooms, offices, a computer lab, a game room, an outdoor amphitheater, retail stores, a movie theater and a hotel.
East of the Reitz Union is the Constans Theatre, a performing arts venue. Although the two buildings are connected, the Constans Theatre is not managed by the union.
The University of Florida's original student union building was called the Florida Union, and opened in 1936 (now known as Dauer Hall). At the request of president Albert A. Murphree, former U.S. Senator William Jennings Bryan assisted in the fund-raising for the Florida Union, and he was aided by the students who agreed to pay an extra fee so that the facility could be built. However, in time, the sentiment was that this building was too small and a new student union would have to be erected to meet the demands.
Plans for the new facility were crafted in 1948, however the project wasn't approved until May 1962. It took two years to secure funding, and the ground breaking was on May 9, 1964. The building was officially completed and opened to the students on May 1, 1967. Financing for the union was accomplished by a statewide revenue certificate program for higher education generated and supported by fees of students of all state institutions of Florida. The financial start was in October 1951, when the student body voted a small fee to be set aside for the construction of this facility. Subsequent actions by the student body, the university administration, the Board of Control (now the Board of Regents), and the State Board of Education made the union possible. There were no tax funds used in the construction or furnishings of the building.
The Reitz Union has been through several expansions and renovations. In 1975, unfinished sections of the basement level were converted into meeting rooms. Additional meeting rooms were constructed above the union colonnade, and the Career Resource Center was expanded in 1991. In 1992, the game room was expanded.
1995 brought several changes, including the addition of a new wing to house the Career Resource Center, converting the existing cafeteria/snack bar area into a food court and the addition of retail space on the ground floor. These projects were completed in 1998. In 2002, the Grand Ballroom opened above the Career Resource Center.
In 2003, the UF Bookstore and Welcome Center was completed. The expansion, which is connected to the Reitz Union through an expanded food court, includes a parking garage, along with a new bookstore. The bookstore, along with the student ID card services, replaced existing facilities located at The Hub.
The union was named in honor of J. Wayne Reitz, the fifth president of the university, who served from 1955 to 1967.
- In 1967, the official size of the structure was 267,000 square feet (24,800 m2).
- The total cost at that time was $5.7 million.
- The cost of construction was $4.4 million.
- The architects for the project were Barrett, Daffin and Bishop of Tallahassee, Florida, and Moore and May of Gainesville, Florida.
The Student Union is home to many services and shops for student convenience. Shops are owned by both corporations and the University, and upper levels contain meeting rooms for student organizations and a hotel. The union has eight levels including the Lower Level/plaza. Inside the union is a bicycle repair facility, sponsored by the University of Florida Student Government. A full map of the building is viewable at the Reitz Union website.
- Arts and Crafts Center
- SG Computer Lab
- Dance Studios
- Maintenance, A/V Services, Productions, Housekeeping, and IT Services department offices
- Reitz Union Hotel Reception (Rooms located on Levels 5 and 6)
- P.O.D (Provisions On Demand)
- Game Room, including bowling alley and pool tables 
- Gator 1 Central (student ID card services)
- Kaplan Education Center
- Reitz Union Barbershop (barbershop)
- Wells Fargo (bank)
- University Bookstore
- Information Desk
- Indoor food court, including Starbucks, Pollo Tropical, Papa Johns, Panda Express, Croutons, and Wendy's
- Career Resource Center
- Study lounges
- Administrative Offices
- Classic Fare Catering Office
- Event Services Office
- Grand Ballroom
- Meeting Rooms
- Reitz Union Auditorium often used as a movie theater
- The Gallery
- Student Government offices
- Reitz Union Board Entertainment
- Department of Student Activities and Involvement
- Reitz Union Programs
- Rion Ballroom
- Student Legal Services (including notary services)
- Sorority and Fraternity Affairs (part of the Student Activities and Involvement dealing with fraternities and sororities)
- Meeting Rooms
- Arredondo Cafe (formerly the Arredondo Room and Micanopy Room)
- Matthews Suite
Level 5 and 6
- Reitz Union Hotel Guest Rooms (Hotel Front Desk on Ground Level)
Renew Your Reitz campaign
In February 2010, university president Bernie Machen, members of the university's board of trustees, student leaders, and other university officials launched an aggressive campaign to spend $90 million to make repairs and expand the outdated building, which has an estimated $42.5 million in needed repairs. The expansion would include a 24-hour study center, a new parking garage (750 spaces), an expanded printing lab, more restaurant selections, new multipurpose meeting rooms, a 1,500-seat auditorium, and a cutting-edge fitness center. About $60 million of this cost would come from a proposed student fee, which would increase tuition rates by $3 per credit hour plus a $20 flat fee each semester. This fee would likely be in effect for the next 30 years.
On February 23-24th, 2010, about 9,775 UF students voted on this issue, with nearly 56% voting against the proposed fee to cover repairs of the Reitz Union, and 55% voting against funding the expansion. The Student Government will explore multiple alternative sources for renovating the aging student center, including the Public Education Capital Outlay, and the Capital Improvement Trust Fund, a fund to which all public university students contribute.
Make It Reitz expansion/renovation project
In summer 2013, the Reitz Union began an extensive renovation and expansion project which added an additional 126,000 square feet and renovated 90,000 square feet of the existing building. The construction included offices and support space for student organizations and space for Student Government, offices and program space for the Center for Leadership and Service, the Department of Student Activities and Involvement, the Office of Multicultural and Diversity Affairs, Reitz Union Programs and GatorWell Health Promotion Services.
The doors to the renovated and expanded facility opened on February 1, 2016..
- J. Wayne Reitz Student Union
- Info about the Student Union
- Historic records of the Student Union
- Architecture of the Union
- Alligator article about the Union
- Youtube video of the Student Union