Frustrations are growing over the University of Florida’s $75 million Reitz Union makeover. After seven failed fire inspections since Dec. 28, the new additions have been unable to be fully cleared for occupancy.
According to David Kramer, the building code administrator, there is a problem with the smoke evacuation system, which currently leaks water onto the floor when it rains.
Additionally, some of the exit doors are equipped with double key deadbolt locks rather than a panic hardware system, which would trap people in the building, according to Kramer. Double key deadbolt locks require a key for both sides of the door, whereas the panic hardware system allows for the door to be opened on one side and locked on the other.
Kramer said the most important part of fire safety is being able to exit easily.
UF is taking the necessary steps to provide permanent solutions to these issues by replacing the locking system on the exterior doors and adding two feet of ducts to the interior that will redirect the rain away from the smoke evacuating system.
“Students have been very cooperative,” said Kramer, who anticipated that there would be trespassing on the site. Some student organizations have been packed up and waiting to move into the Reitz Union for three weeks.
Despite setbacks, the project is not expected to exceed the budget.
The new addition is scheduled to open officially on Feb. 20.