Mold, distinct odors and contaminated water fountains are just some of the things students see at Norman Hall at the University of Florida.
On Oct. 13, students in the College of Education began circulating a petition that urges the state of Florida to support renovations to alleviate those conditions.
The petition was started months after an
$8 million budget to renovate the hall was vetoed by Gov. Rick Scott.
Students are requesting funds to modernize research facilities, enhance the quality of learning and invest in the future of students in the College of Education, according to the petition.
The petition was created by Maddie McClinton, senator for the College of Education.
“We are very appreciative of the petition Maddie has started,” said Thomas Dana, associate dean of the College of Education. “Students are taking an active role in supporting renovations of a building that will serve the next generation of teachers.”
The smell of the mildew is almost unbearable in some of the hallways in Norman, Dana said.
“There is a suite at the end of this hallway, and as soon as you get near the women’s room, you can start smelling [mildew],” he said. “To me, it smells like cat urine.”
Norman Hall, which was formally known as P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School, was a lab school that was established in 1934, Dana said.
It was designed to be a school for kindergarten through 12th grade and moved out of Norman in 1959.
Dana said learning to teach in a building that hasn’t changed much since 1934 can be difficult.
Although no students have seriously gotten sick from the mold and asbestos, Dana said he fears otherwise.
“It could get that bad,” he said.
Suntrell Butler, an elementary education senior at UF, said she can smell the difference between Norman and a newer building, such as the Reitz Union.
She believes the mold and other factors associated with Norman Hall have negatively affected her health.
“Every day while I’m in class I will cough at least a million times because of the mold,” Butler said.
Some students who are not in the College of Education, but have had classes in Norman Hall, also agree a renovation needs to happen.
“It’s upsetting because I know quite a few people who have classes in there,” said Emily Bozigar, a classical studies junior. “We should be spending our money on making a learning environment safer.”
Butler urges all students to visit Norman.
“Come see what we have to deal with every day,” she said.