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The UT campus is transforming, and this page is an insider's look to keep our Spartans and the community informed. The campus is constantly evolving and growing, with approximately $575 million in new construction since 1998.

Ferman Center for the Arts

Construction to be completed Fall 2020

Calling it a project that will transform the creative arts both for University of Tampa students and the Tampa community, UT officials announced today that the University will soon begin construction on a new, four-story, 90,000-square-foot building on campus that will provide spaces for UT’s fine and performing arts.

Ferman Center for the Arts
The Ferman Center for the Arts building, named in honor of the Ferman family – longtime supporters of the University – will include a recital hall, black box theater, classrooms, practice rooms, art and dance studios, faculty and administrative offices, student study spaces and much more.

The Ferman Center for the Arts building, named in honor of the Ferman family – longtime supporters of the University – will include a recital hall, black box theater, classrooms, practice rooms, art and dance studios, faculty and administrative offices, student study spaces and much more.

The central focus of the building includes a multi-use lobby space that provides gallery walls for displaying art work, which leads into another area for music and dance performances. Above this elevated performance area is a combination study and gallery. The two are connected by an artistic, circular stair which features a performance stage mid-landing that is suitable for musical performances, readings or addresses to a crowd.

Other building features include:

  • A 200-seat, acoustically-tuned theatre, ideal for recitals and other musical performances, dance programs, film screenings and speeches;
  • Two sound insulated music classrooms, and six general education classrooms;
  • Twelve music practice rooms, music teaching studios and instrument storage;
  • Three recording studios with a professional level control room;
  • A black box theater designed for flexible stage and audience interaction, including rehearsal spaces;
  • A large painting studio and 20 small advanced painting collaborative project studios;
  • A courtyard with casting/sand pit area and furnaces for casting metal or ceramic art;
  • Sculpture studio and wood/metal fabrication shop, including a plasma cutter;
  • The Center for Speech;
  • Student study and meeting spaces throughout; and,
  • Many faculty offices as well as faculty lounges and part-time faculty office and study spaces.

For comparison’s sake, the four-story Ferman Center for the Arts is slightly larger than the six-story Graduate and Health Studies building, which opened in Fall 2018 and is currently the University’s largest academic building. The architecture will feature glass, wood, red-brick and steel to complement other campus buildings, including the iconic Plant Hall. The interior will be a contemporary, functional, dynamic space that exudes creativity and innovation.

Ferman Center for the Arts
A groundbreaking for the new building was held on April 25. The building is set to be complete by Fall 2020.

The location of the building is at the southwest corner of North Boulevard and Spaulding Drive. It is currently the site of the Edison Building, which will be demolished beginning Tuesday, May 7, to make room for construction. Construction will begin thereafter, and the building is set to be complete by Fall 2020.

Ferman Center for the Arts
The location of the Ferman Center for the Arts is at the southwest corner of North Boulevard and Spaulding Drive. It is currently the site of the Edison Building, where so many UT dancers have learned from great professors, including retired professor Susan Taylor Lennon, who encouraged her students to “do it with love.” Photo by @mddesigns16

Many of the spaces that will be featured in the Ferman Center for the Arts are currently housed in the campus’ former Florida State Fair exhibit buildings, which are almost 100 years old and are gradually failing.

The lead building donors, Jim and Celia Ferman and the Ferman family, are inextricably linked to Tampa and The University of Tampa. The family has been involved with UT for 70 years – more than three-fourths of UT’s existence. The family is already the namesake of a conference room in the Vaughn Center and of the current campus music building, which the new building will replace. Martha Ferman, who passed in 2011, helped found The Chiselers. Her late husband, James L. Ferman Sr., served as chair of UT’s Board of Trustees, as did their son, Jim L. Ferman Jr., who with his wife, Celia, have also long been involved with the University.

The lead architect on the project is Eric Kreher of Kreher Wehling Jacquette Architects Inc., and EWI Construction has been named to build the new structure. This team also designed and constructed the Fitness and Recreation Center on campus, which opened in 2016.

In alignment with UT’s commitment to environmental stewardship, the new building will be designed and constructed to be a candidate for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. If successful, it will be UT’s eighth LEED-certified building. The new building exterior will also be enhanced by appropriate landscaping.

Fab Lab

Construction completed Spring 2019

Completed Project Photos

The University of Tampa will rebuild part of its Bailey Arts Studios on campus to host one of the most forward-thinking visual arts programs in the country, offering spaces for innovation and creativity amongst student and faculty inventors, designers, entrepreneurs and artists.

Most notably, the project will include construction of a digital fabrication lab (the Fab Lab) that will be an entrepreneurially focused, collaborative maker-space for students and faculty to turn their ideas and dreams into prototypes and products. The space will include laser cutters, 3-D printers, computer numerical control (CNC) routers, large format printers, vinyl cutters and state-of-the-art computer technology.

Fab Lab
Most notably, the project will include construction of a digital fabrication lab (the Fab Lab) that will be an entrepreneurially focused, collaborative maker-space for students and faculty to turn their ideas and dreams into prototypes and products.

The project is set to be completed in the spring semester.

Art and design students — from the freshman year on — will have access to the Fab Lab, which at other universities is usually reserved for graduates in engineering, architecture or the arts. Additionally, the Fab Lab will be available for UT students from various majors.

Fab Lab
“According to Chris Valle, all of the rebuilt Bailey Arts Studios spaces will take their design cues from the edgy and collaborative vibe that is the standard in tech startups and other creative, professional spaces.

“Virtually anything can be created in a fab lab, even things we haven’t dreamed of yet,” said David Gudelunas, dean of the UT College of Arts and Letters. “Yet most fab labs are at large research institutions or affiliated with major think tanks, and it is an even smaller list of elite institutions that make these technologies available to undergraduate students.” Only 4 percent of colleges and universities in the country have a fab lab.

In addition to the Fab Lab, the rebuilt Bailey Arts Studio will include:

  • A modernized, state-of-the art photography studio and darkroom complete with professional-grade lighting studio and staging areas as well as an environmentally friendly dark room.
  • Two new high-tech classrooms that encourage interpersonal and technological engagement to support the growing graphic design major, and the digital arts generally.
  • A re-imagined printmaking studio with safety and technological improvements that diversifies the printmaking capabilities and combines traditional processes with new emerging digital tools.
  • Enhancements to the Scarfone/Hartley Gallery, one of Tampa’s premier art spaces.

According to Chris Valle, all of the rebuilt Bailey Arts Studios spaces will take their design cues from the edgy and collaborative vibe that is the standard in tech startups and other creative, professional spaces. “These new spaces are a physical manifestation of the vision of the art and design department and the College of Arts and Letters,” said Valle, chair and professor of art and design. “Art and design majors will have access to spaces that are as imaginative and aesthetically focused as they are. It is a perfect match.”

Fab Lab
“Art and design majors will have access to spaces that are as imaginative and aesthetically focused as they are,” said Valle. “It is a perfect match.”

The Bailey Arts Studios, which is located on North Boulevard next to the Martinez Athletics Center, was originally developed in 2002 after a naming gift from the Bailey Family Foundation. The building is, and will remain, approximately 30,000 square feet.

Project architects are Eric Kreher and Bob Shumake, and the general contractor is Friedrich Watkins.

The rebuilding will be paid for through individual gifts and University funds.

In alignment with UT’s commitment to environmental stewardship, the building will be designed and constructed to be a candidate for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Riverside Center

Construction completed Spring 2019
Completed Project Photos

The University of Tampa’s Riverside Center, which was built in 1962 on the Hillsborough River and has supported various administrative and academic functions over the years, will undergo a major renovation this summer and fall. The renovation will allow for significantly increased space for Career Services, classrooms, conference rooms and for a transformed post office.

Riverside1

The current building, which is a mix of single-story, story-and-a-half and two-story spaces, will become two-story throughout, but will remain approximately the same footprint. The renovation will add nearly 20,000 square feet for a total of 54,000 square feet. The project is expected to begin in early May, and to be fully completed for the Spring 2019 semester. However, the post office, language lab and some administrative spaces are expected to be complete by the Fall 2018 semester.

Highlights of the renovation include:

  • Career Services, which helps students transition from college to career, will have an additional 5,000 square feet to incorporate spaces for placement services, including interviewing, corporate recruiter meetings, receptions, employer programs and numerous student programs to aid career exploration and job search. An adjacent multipurpose room will open onto a patio that overlooks the Hillsborough River.
  • Classrooms and conference spaces account for an additional 4,500 square feet. The new building will feature 10 classrooms and conference rooms, which include two state-of-the-art language labs. Many of the classrooms will feature views of the Hillsborough River and downtown Tampa.
  • UT’s post office will be totally redesigned and modernized to account for current trends in student use, in which students do not receive significant amounts of first class mail, but do receive numerous packages via Amazon, USPS, FedEx, UPS, etc. In fact, last year post office staff handled 10,000 packages the first week of fall semester, and more than 100,000 during the academic year.

The new building will also include space for faculty offices to help keep pace with the rapid addition of new employee hires. The Office of Admissions’ presentation room will be expanded, as will Admissions’ logistics space for managing mailings to prospective students. Development and University Relations, Human Resources and Public Information and Publications will also benefit from redesign and expanded spaces.

“The new Riverside Building will benefit the UT community in many ways,” said UT President Ronald Vaughn. “I believe students will especially benefit from the expansion of Career Services and the addition of classrooms and study spaces, and I think they will particularly enjoy a modernized, functional post office.”

The project architect is Andy Dohmen of Design Styles Architecture and the general contractor is Dave Tavlin of Crossroads Construction.

Construction of the building will be paid for through individual gifts and University funds.

In alignment with UT’s commitment to environmental stewardship, the building will be designed and constructed to be a candidate for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification of the U.S. Green Building Council.

The renovation will also be enhanced by landscaping, new sidewalks and outdoor, riverfront seating.

Riverside2

When it opened in May 1963 the Riverside Center was known as the Student Center and included a bookstore, dining center, library and student lounges. It was built soon after the completion of the McKay and Smiley residence halls, when UT was attempting to build out a more complete campus, as well as manage its post-war enrollment increase. It was expanded in 1969, and the building last received a facelift in 2009.

Previous Campus Improvements

Campus improvements completed from 2013-2018

» Campus improvements completed in 2018 include the following:

For details and photos, visit Campus Construction 2018.

» Campus improvements completed in 2017 include the following:

For details and photos, visit Campus Construction 2017.

» Campus improvements completed in 2016 included the following:

For details and photos, visit Campus Construction 2016.


» Campus improvements that were completed in 2015 included the following:

For details and photos, visit Campus Construction 2015.


» Campus improvements that were completed in 2014 included infrastructure updates to Plant Park.


» Campus improvements completed in 2013 included the following:

  • Aquatic Center
  • North Walker Hall
  • East Walker Hall
  • West Kennedy Hall
  • The Naimoli Family Softball Stadium
  • Thompson Building
  • Naimoli Family Athletic and Intramural Complex

For details and photos, visit the Campus Construction 2013 page.