A New Norman
Scorpio has reached a major milestone in the renovation to the UF College of Education’s historic home – Norman Hall. Floors one, two and three have been completely renovated and classes and administration have returned home after relocating approximately 12 months ago. Areas of the building are nearly unrecognizable, thanks to the incredible work of hundreds of craft and tradesmen and women restoring this historic structure to its original grandeur. The remaining renovations and additions to the Ground Floor and the new Conference Center space adjacent to Norman will be complete in November.
This is the first-ever major improvement project in Norman Hall’s 85-year history.
The intense renovations and repairs included an overhaul of the historic building’s infrastructure, a new roof, windows, plumbing, electrical system, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, flooring, along with the removal of asbestos and lead paint.
The improvements also include adding many student-centered features, such as configurable classrooms and meeting spaces, more space to boost research capacity, and installing electrical outlets to support student technology needs.
The renovation and repairs involved logistical challenges, such as temporarily moving the classrooms and offices to another location during construction. In addition, historic structures provide unique structural and mechanical challenges with new discoveries made almost daily as ceilings, walls, and floors are razed to make way for needed improvements. The college’s staff first began planning updates to Norman Hall in the 1980s and securing state funding has been one of UF’s capital improvement and maintenance priorities. But raising the necessary funds for a restorative project of this size was difficult and took decades to achieve.
“We are very grateful to the state for the funding to pay for these badly needed improvements,” said College of Education Dean Glenn Good. “The renovations will make the building more suitable for preparing the educators and educational leaders who will address the educational opportunities and challenges of the future.”
The L-shaped red-brick building was built in 1931-1934 as the P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School to closely resemble the university’s original academic buildings constructed starting in 1905.
Located across Southwest 13th Street from the main campus, the building has a steeply pitched roof punctuated with dormers, decorative brick work, and architectural embellishments. These include arched doorways and carvings, such as the north façade’s monumental plaque honoring the great educators of the past, from Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle to McGuffy and Froebel.
In 1957, the building was renamed for long-time Education Dean James W. Norman when P.K. Yonge moved to its own campus a few blocks away. In 1989, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The College of Education is rated among America’s top-ranked education schools. The college has 2,800 students enrolled in 28 undergraduate and graduate academic programs and projects to increase enrollment 20 percent during the next five years.