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VIDEO: New $42M Building at USF Sarasota-Manatee Reaches Construction Milestone

Wed July 12, 2023 - Southeast Edition
University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee

Workers recently reached a key moment in the construction of the first-ever residence hall on the University of South Florida (USF) Sarasota-Manatee campus.

The first of almost 600 precast concrete panels that will make up the walls of the six-story, 100,000-sq.-ft. building, designed to be a combination student center/residence hall, were installed on the structure, set to open for the fall 2024 semester.

Installation of the panels, which began in late June, will take about three months to complete, the school announced July 5.

To carry out the work, crews are using a 190-ft.-tall crane — about twice the planned height of the new building — to lift and carefully anchor the concrete panels into place. The crane, which was assembled on site, is partially lowered each evening so as to not interfere with operations at Sarasota Bradenton International Airport across U.S. Highway 41 from the campus.

"This is very exciting for all of us on the Sarasota-Manatee campus," said Karen Holbrook, regional chancellor of the USF branch, an extension of the main campus in Tampa. "It is thrilling to watch the massive crane lift the walls into place as the construction site is transformed into a building that we have wanted for so long."

Following are some of the key details about the new USF Sarasota-Manatee student center/residence hall project:

  • The walls for the building, rising along Seagate Drive on the south side of the Sarasota-Manatee campus courtyard, will consist of 589 precast pieces, totaling 3,466 cu. yds.
  • With a single cubic yard of concrete generally weighing about 4,050 lbs., the total weight of the panels will be more than 14 million lbs. The heaviest piece tips the scales at 55,300 lbs., the university noted.
  • It will take 460 trips to deliver all of the pieces from a concrete plant in Bartow where the panels are being formed.
  • When finished, the first two floors of the student center will include a ballroom, dining facilities, a bookstore, lounges, meeting spaces and offices for the university's student government, USF World and other campus organizations.
  • Architectural features in the student center will include large windows that will offer views of the campus, Sarasota Bay and Longboat Key.
  • The top four floors of the building will include residences arranged in various configurations, designed to house a total of 200 students.

"This week's construction activities mark a significant milestone in this project, bringing it closer to its physical form and emphasizing the tremendous effort and collaboration put in by numerous individuals to reach this stage," said Jason Mitchell, vice president of client services of CORE Construction, the Texas-based contractor behind the construction, with an office in nearby University Park, Fla.

"Students will undoubtedly be astonished when they return to school later this summer, witnessing a remarkable transformation from a bare site at [the] conclusion of last semester to a magnificent, six-story structure taking shape before their eyes."

Site and foundation work for the $42 million construction project started in February, followed by a ceremonial groundbreaking on March 1.

The USF Sarasota-Manatee campus's new student center and residence hall is set to open for the fall 2024 semester, the university said.

Former Sarasota-Manatee campus CEO Laurey Stryker, who visited the campus in June as the crane was being assembled, said she was excited to see the progress in the construction of the student center and residence hall.

"This is going to change things because all those students who said, ‘Boy, I wish I could have a full college experience, including a residential life,' are going to have that, and are going to have that soon," she said.

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