Ajax Building Corporation Celebrates 2 University of Florida Projects – Press Release

Events Showcase Progress of Warrington College of Business Administration’s Heavener Hall, Commissioning of Innovation News Center for College of Journalism and Communications

(GAINESVILLE, FL) – September 23, 2013 – Ajax Building Corporation recently celebrated the progress and the possibilities of two of its projects on opposite ends of the University of Florida campus.  A beam-signing ceremony was held September 20 on the construction site of Heavener Hall, the Warrington College of Business Administration’s new undergraduate building, while later in the evening the College of Journalism and Communications formally commissioned its Innovation News Center.

About 100 guests gathered for the Heavener Hall ceremony at the site on the northeast corner of the UF campus. Guests signed a 35-foot, 2,660-pound, steel beam that will be installed in the building, which is scheduled for completion in spring 2015.

The College of Journalism and Communications commissioned the Innovation News Center in Weimer Hall with the help of alumni, students, faculty, staff and donors. David Folkenflik, NPR’s media correspondent, delivered the keynote address.

“This is a first for Ajax to celebrate the early progress of one building and the commissioning of another on the same university campus on the same day,” noted Ajax President Bill Byrne. “We are delighted to be a part of the University of Florida’s vision to offer state-of-the-art educational facilities for students and teachers that will benefit many generations to come.”

Heavener Hall

The three-story Heavener Hall project spans roughly 52,000 square feet and is located literally at the gateway to the campus, at the intersection of SW 13th Street and University Avenue, and is Ajax’s second major project for the Warrington College of Business. It is designed in the University Gothic style, with a construction budget of $16.9 million, using materials compatible with nearby buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. The new corner site will be entirely redeveloped to provide a more open and pedestrian-friendly entrance to campus.

The building itself will include small to medium-sized classrooms, an open Commons for studying and gathering, study rooms for four to six students, a large multi-purpose room, academic advising space, a technology assistance center, office/meeting space for Heavener staff, and a small café on the ground floor. It is designed to be highly energy-efficient, with LEED certification at the Gold level.  One prominent example of that is the use of “chilled beams” as the primary means of heating & cooling — a system that uses radiant cooling in lieu of forcing cold air throughout the building in large ducts.

Schenkel & Shultz Inc. of Orlando and Robert A.M. Stern Architects of New York designed the project. Ajax is the construction manager.

Innovation News Center

Ajax completed the two-story, 14,000-square-foot $3.46 million expansion and renovation project that created the Innovation News Center in time for fall 2012 classes. The INC replaced three older newsrooms and has nearly 100 seats for student editors, producers and reporters that work together to report news for the College’s media properties, including WUFT-TV, WUFT-FM 89.1, ESPN 850 WRUF, Country 103.7 the Gator, WUFT-TV 6, and wuft.org.

A Central Assignment Desk controls the operation, with team work-pods arranged in a vibrant, interactive collaborative space. Breakout rooms, faculty offices and production studios surround and feed this central hive of activity.

The INC was strategically placed near the center of the existing second floor in a mostly renovated space. From here the building expands into a dynamic two-story atrium with offices and support areas opening into the space on two levels. Several journalism and telecommunications classes are held within the facility, allowing students to learn to report news in multiple platforms. The overall functionality of the entire building was enhanced as previously disconnected building areas and departments now communicate directly via the INC.

Rowe Architects, Inc., of Tampa, designed the project.

About Ajax Building Corporation

A 55-year-old company, Ajax is recognized for its expertise in construction management, design-build and program management of educational, healthcare and commercial facilities, as well as other public and institutional buildings. Ajax is dedicated to building sustainable and high performance facilities — from design to construction and operation —and has 21 LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Accredited Professionals credentialed employees on staff. Ajax maintains Florida offices in Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Gainesville, DeFuniak Springs, Orlando, Tampa, and Punta Gorda, as well Atlanta, GA and Durham, NC. In rankings, the company takes a leadership position in a number of Top Contractor categories. Engineering News Record names Ajax among the Top 100 Green Contractors in the United States. Regionally, Southeast Construction magazine ranks Ajax No. 48 in the list of Top Contractors and No. 27 in Green Builders. McGraw Hill’s Design Build magazine also ranks Ajax No. 67 in the Top Design Builders in the United States.