University of Florida wants to embark on a growth spurt

Century Tower at the University of Florida campus in Gainesville, Florida. [Photo courtesy: UF]

The University of Florida wants to embark on a growth spurt.

Florida's flagship university is hoping to spend around $2.2 billion in the next decade.

The Gainesville Sun reports the university's capital improvement plans include a new honors college, athletic dorms, a new student health facility, academic buildings and a landscaping plan that would change the face of the university.

But getting the money will be a challenge.

University of Florida president Kent Fuchs said there isn't enough money in the bank to make the plans happen overnight.

"We don't have the resources right now to make it happen," Fuchs said. "We have to find the resources to make it possible."

The growth plans coincide with the school's efforts to become a national Top 5 public university.

Among the top priorities are renovating dorms and building an honors college.

Building an honor college complex that would impress the country's brightest students would give it a better shot at recruiting them, said Charlie Lane, the school's chief operating officer.

"We're trying to recruit the best and brightest students ... part of that is providing great living situations," Lane said. "The housing we have right now, we feel doesn't serve the need in that regard."

The proposed $175 million honors college complex would have 1,400 beds and a social and learning space with a lounge and study rooms. A commons area would include a library, honors college offices, 14 meeting rooms and several more study rooms. Also planned for the complex are a recreational facility and a park-like lawn.

The university also wants to build a 500-bed dorm for athletes and other students.

Both projects would be finished by 2023.

The university plans to renovate some dorms and demolish others.

Lane said the university's biggest challenge would be its landscaping plan, which includes closing some roads to create pedestrian walkways and a plaza at a cost of $20 million.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.