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Groundbreaking Science

UF breaks ground for long awaited chemistry building.

The University of Florida will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for its new chemistry/chemical biology building at 11 a.m. Friday at the corner of University Avenue and Buckman Drive.

The facility will provide 110,000 square feet of space for undergraduate and graduate education, including an entire floor devoted to chemical biology and chemical synthesis.

“This will enable us to move into the strong, interdisciplinary area of chemical biology, which will allow us to collaborate with the medical school and the College of Engineering on drug discovery,” said professor Bill Dolbier, chair of the chemistry department.

The building is expected to cost $67 million. The state has committed $42 million toward the overall cost.

The University of Florida is among the top five doctoral chemistry programs in the country, despite its outdated labs and classrooms. This project has been a priority for President Bernie Machen, who said, “The continued rise of UF’s chemistry department is vital to the university and our plan for preeminence, and we will only remain on the trajectory with a facility that is truly world class. The new chemistry building will meet that high standard — aiding our scientists, empowering our students and enable the creative solutions to the increasingly complex and challenging technical problems facing our planet.”

Chemistry is a core discipline — required for engineering, biology and medicine. Forty percent of the current incoming freshman class is enrolled in general chemistry classes.

Dave Richardson, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said, “This new facility on University Avenue will no doubt become a popular destination for thousands of UF students every year, with its state-of-the-art teaching laboratories and striking interior design. The building will be an educational showplace that sets the bar for the next generation of instructional spaces at UF, and it will make a bold statement about our future to those visiting the campus.”