UCF spends $5 million to update safety, cleaning for students

UCF is preparing to reopen this fall and is giving FOX 35 News a first look at how they plan to keep students safe.

UCF said they had to cut back on the electric bill and services like lawn mowing in order to spend about $5 million so far to upgrade and acquire personal protection equipment throughout campus.

With shipments coming in daily, the staff is installing a quarter-mile worth of Plexiglas in libraries and stores, 1,200 hand sanitizer stations, and more than 2,500 touchless devices for doors and faucets.But the biggest change of all will be the college experience.

”We’re gonna go from 454 seats to 73,” Duane Siemen, Interim Associate Vice President of Facilities and Safety said about class sizes. “That’s a big drop.”

Classroom capacity will now only allow about 25 percent or less. Thousands of desks and chairs are roped off in 267 classrooms across all campuses. Students will be sitting at a distance with masks on at all times.

“So if you think about that, our biggest classes are now going to have to be online,” Siemen said.

Each day, classrooms will be sprayed with an electrostatic fogger that can kill viruses on contact. Beyond surface cleaning, UCF’s Energy Services department is installing new filters and UV-C lights that can destroy bacteria and viruses before being pumped out through the A/C.

“After that air passes through those filters, then it gets treated with the ultraviolet light before it gets discharged back into that space,” Nate Boyd, Senior Manager of Energy Services said.

Finally, when students are ready to go back to their dorm to study, they will do so in their own bedroom. Gone are the days of sharing a room with a roommate. The suites that consist of two bedrooms and one bathroom to share, will now be for two people instead of four. However, students won’t just be spending time on campus, and that opens up the risk of catching the virus and bringing it back with them.

“Is it enough?” Siemen said. “It’s not 100 percent – it’s just a mitigation effort and we’re going to do the best to support the students and faculty in this endeavor.”

With students going back to class on August 24, one big question on everyone’s mind is what will become of the football games? Officials tell me they still don’t know and are waiting on guidance from the conference and athletic association.