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Infrastructure Projects Begin on University of South Florida's Trio of Campuses

Mon April 17, 2023 - Southeast Edition #10
USF News

The water tower on the USF Tampa campus will be revitalized and painted as part of USF's Capital Renewal Program. (University of South Florida photo)
The water tower on the USF Tampa campus will be revitalized and painted as part of USF's Capital Renewal Program. (University of South Florida photo)

One of the University of South Florida's (USF) most iconic structures is undergoing a much-needed renovation.

To extend its lifespan, the 26-year-old water tower on the Tampa campus is being repaired and will soon be painted with a yet-to-be-revealed design. The tower has not been painted in more than a decade or received any significant construction improvements since that time, according to the university's newsroom on April 14.

The 212-ft. tower pressurizes and supplies drinking water to most buildings on the USF campus.

Its revitalization is one of the most publicly recognizable projects being funded by an investment of nearly $73 million in the 2022 state budget to support USF's Capital Renewal Program, which addresses a part of the school's deferred maintenance needs.

USF's Office of Administrative Services, which oversees facilities management, used an inclusive process that involved input from officials at each of the college's three campuses — USF Tampa, USF St. Petersburg and USF Sarasota-Manatee — to identify 87 critical projects. Most 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. It can be found online at

"The 87 projects on this list represent the greatest needs of our aged and/or failed infrastructure across the three USF campuses," explained Scot Berrian, assistant director of Design and Construction, Office of Administrative Services.

For instance, approximately 40 percent of the roofs on the Tampa campus are at or beyond the recommended age for replacement, USF noted.

"What the USF community is not always aware of are the critical infrastructure and utility systems that support the entire campus," added 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."

Heat, ventilation and air conditioning needs also are being addressed with the replacement of 12 HVAC systems, although most of the work will not begin until early next year.

Allen Building Desperately Needs Upgrade

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.

"I love the Allen Building and the beautiful courtyard," said Risa Blake, administrative specialist in the Student Ombuds Office. "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."

Besides the Ombuds Office, the Allen Building is home to several other departments, including the Office of Veteran Success, the Office of Graduate Studies and Student Success offices. Currently, it also houses the Judy Genshaft Honors College, which is moving into its new building in May.

"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. We are very grateful to the state for providing funding so that these conditions can finally be addressed."

The USF campus projects are set to be completed throughout the next three years, with the revitalized water tower ready by the start of the 2023 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.

Founded in 1956, USF is the fourth largest university in Florida by enrollment, with almost 50,000 students from over 145 countries, all 50 states, all five U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia as of the 2022–2023 academic year.

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