Supporting UF’s Campus Master Plan
The University of Florida campus master plan is the abiding document directing the use and strategy for UF’s buildings and land resources. When new buildings are proposed or existing campus buildings are renovated, UF Information Technology (UFIT) staff are part of the planning and design process. Two teams from UFIT are intrinsic to ensuring the best technologies are part of the campus-built environment: UFIT Construction Management and A/V Design & Installation. Certifying that the planned IT infrastructure is viable to support a top-5 university both near-term and in the future is a significant responsibility, and a commitment not undertaken lightly by UFIT.
UF Planning, Design, and Construction (PD&C) provides the construction plans for UFIT evaluation. UFIT’s Construction Management team then evaluates the project’s telecommunications budget, makes sure that the construction program includes adequate space for telecommunication rooms, and evaluates the proposed location for conflicts with existing underground telecommunications assets. When review is complete, the recommended changes are sent to VP and CIO Elias Eldayrie for review and signoff. At any time, UFIT’s Construction Management staff is evaluating approximately a dozen construction projects in the UF Planning, Design, and Construction portfolio.
“Our department relies on UFIT’s expertise to drive the success of every project we have on campus,” says UF Construction Director Frank Javaheri. “With their involvement from the concept during the programming phases, UFIT provides the information necessary for budgetary requirements, procurement of telecom and A/V equipment, and coordination and installation. Partnering with UFIT, we can provide the best systems the university needs for our day-to-day activities, education, research, and other advancements.”
UFIT’s A/V Design & Installation team has been integrated in campus’s major construction projects process for the last decade. Some of the current projects that include an A/V imprint are the new UF Public Safety Building, the new Student Health Care Building, IFAS’s Blueberry Research Building, and A/V upgrades to Emerson Alumni Hall and the Harrell Medical Building.
A/V Design & Installation staff work with Planning Design & Construction on all projects with an audio and/or video technology component. Staff are included early in the design phase and meet with stakeholders to determine their A/V needs and advance their vision. A/V Design and Installation staff work with the architects, engineers, PD&C staff, stakeholders, and the construction team throughout the process of new construction or renovations to ensure a high-quality product at the best cost for the university.
In March 2018, UFIT received a preliminary program document from UF Planning, Design, and Construction for project UF-632. UFIT staff reviewed the initial program and attended pre-program charrettes along with UF’s senior leadership, deans from the stakeholder colleges, and the university’s construction planning staff. In May 2020, VP and CIO Eldayrie approved the building program plan for this project.
The $150,000,000 Malachowsky Data Science and Information Technology (MDSIT) Building, informally referred to as Malachowsky Hall, is named for UF engineering alumnus Chris Malachowsky, B.S.E.E. ’80 . The site of Malachowsky Hall is on Museum Road, just east of the New Physics Building. Due to MDSIT’s proximity to the Astronomy observatory planners needed a way to prevent light from emanating from the building at night. A glass darkening system was proposed to darken the windows at night. UFIT is evaluating the glass vendor and is also upgrading network equipment to raise the data throughput between Malachowsky Hall and the UF Data Center, located on East Campus. UFIT is managing the solicitation for data wiring contracts and will ultimately oversee the installation of the network cabling inside and outside of Malachowsky Hall.
Malachowsky Hall is a cutting-edge technology space and showcase for innovation. The 263,000-square-foot building is designed to connect students and researchers from across disciplines and spur advances in computing, communication, and cyber-technologies with the potential for profound societal impact.
A facility with the moonshot goals of Malachowsky Hall requires state-of-the art connectivity and A/V components. UFIT is outfitting multiple labs, classrooms, a conference room, and meeting and common spaces with the latest audio-visual technologies that can grow as the technologies do. Several large direct view LED video walls are planned for the AI Lab, IOT Maker Lab and VT Maker Lab , as well as two banner style video walls in the lobby areas on the second and third floor that can display for digital signage. Several classrooms and other smaller labs will be outfitted with a mix of projectors and flat panel displays, cameras and microphone for hybrid learning. Opening of Malachowsky Hall is slated for March 2023.
With NVIDIA scientists and Wertheim engineering staff based in the facility, UFIT envisions a long-term partnership with Planning, Design, and Construction staff to keep Malachowsky Hall’s technology and gigabit speed world class.