UF Public Safety Building

Gainesville, FL

The UF police department building was originally WRUF radio station and built back in 1928. The building has been utilized as the headquarters for the University of Florida Police Department (UFPD) since 1957. The school has grown exponentially since then. More students mean UFPD has a larger role, and the current building cannot support that demand. Carlos Dougnac, Assistant Vice President for Planning Design and Construction at UF, states, “It is a relatively small building that is not easily repurposed to any programmatic need of the university and is in a location where the new public safety building is desired.”

Restoration and repurposing the historic building would be expensive and still not satisfy the space needs of the University. The demolition process started March 2021 and the new facility started coming out of the ground soon after. Starting from scratch and constructing an up-to-date, environmentally sustainable, and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant facility is the goal. Building a new Public Safety Complex would meet the department’s needs, and students would be able to have access to a safe and updated building.

The physical security of students will also improve. Officers will be able to readily react to blue light phone calls, access camera footage on card reader access points, and assist with all 911 calls by providing video footage if cameras are in proximity of pursuit. None of these resources were previously available in the old facility. UFPD was housed across five buildings on campus due to a lack of central space. With a new beacon for UFPD to call home, for the first time since 1957, they will be in two adjacent buildings with over 55,000sf of new space.

A lot of material from the original historic structure will be repurposed in the updated facility, honoring history in a sustainable fashion. Builders will turn bricks into low-seat walls around the building and within the interior. The trees that cannot be relocated will be turned into a high-quality conference room table, while new replacement trees will be planted on-site and elsewhere on campus. These pieces of history will find a new home in the new and improved Public Safety Complex where UFPD, UFDEM, including the University’s Emergency Operations Center and UF Physical Security’s Global Security Operations Center will call home.

The original WRUF Radio Station of 1928 had been well-used and beloved by the greater Gator community, but the time has come to address students and staff safety at UF as a top priority. This new building will honor the legacy of the historic building while progressing into a new age of modern sustainability and safety.

See the future building here: https://vimeo.com/490873548