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Coffee Talk
Business Observer Friday, Nov. 1, 2019 2 weeks ago

Crack books, not beers: College bar makes way for science

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The University of Tampa moves to expand its campus with a new building for biology and chemistry research.

Next autumn, science faculty and students at the University of Tampa will have more room for research and experiments. On land formerly occupied by the Outpost Tap House & Tavern, at 909 W. Kennedy Blvd., UT plans to build a 4,000-square-foot science research facility that will provide space for up to 12 biology and chemistry professors and their students.

The university acquired the property in April 2017 for $1.6 million and leased it to the Outpost.

Paul Greenwood, the dean of UT’s College of Natural and Health Sciences, says the new facility represents a win for the basic sciences that form the educational backbone for students who aspire to careers in popular health science fields, such as kinesiology, physical therapy and nutrition and wellness studies.

“I've only been here two and a half years,” Greenwood tells Coffee Talk, “but one of my missions is to shore up our spaces better in the basic sciences. Biology and chemistry are the two big workhorses of the university in a lot of ways.”

The Tampa division of Dallas-based Beck Group will oversee design and construction of the building, which Greenwood expects to be finished in summer 2020. The building will be just one story because of the need for lots of airflow and ventilation — in anticipation of the advanced chemistry research that will be done within the facility.

“I would love it if it was five stories with a 15,000-square-foot footprint and a variety of other things,” Greenwood says. “But this is actually very helpful to my college because we were pressed for research space, and to hire more tenure-track faculty, we need research space for them.”

UT officials decline to disclose the budget for the project.

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