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2013 Award of Honor - UF LID
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Project Category: Open Space

Project Name: Campus LID

Length of Design Effort & Date of Completion: 16 Weeks (1 Semester), November 2012

Student: Emily Sturm, Tracy Wyman, Hannah Plate, Greg Ford, Josh Evitt, Jayne Branstorm, Brenda Lugano, Jabari Taylor, Wes Hansen, Tracy Fanara, Natalie Nelson, Angelica Engel, University of Florida

 Faculty Advisor: Glenn Acomb, FASLA

Water resources are finite, fragile, and necessary for human and environmental health. Lake Alice is a natural water body which receives 60% of all campus stormwater, with its overflow being injected directly into the Floridan Aquifer. In recent years the health of Lake Alice has been compromised due to excess nutrient runoff and a disruption of natural systems resulting from urban campus development. 

Changes have been documented as to the base flow of creeks that receive campus stormwater, with more highly varied flows of shorter duration in response to specific storm events.  The health of Lake Alice is a direct reflection on what is being injected into our aquifer, giving reason for a design that slows, infiltrates and cleanses stormwater before it reaches the lake.

An interdisciplinary approach was used to achieve the goals of mitigating stormwater through an artful demonstration of low-impact development technologies, which would compel users to enjoy the space while gaining an understanding of the natural systems at work. Additionally, the Landscape Architecture and Engineering students worked in collaboration with experts in the disciplines of Soil and Water Science and with the University Facilities Planning Department to inform the design and ensure its relevance to the campus masterplan.

The Site

Mapping opportunities to implement low-impact development technologies on campus amidst maximum public exposure, led to the selection of the Reitz Lawn, an 11-acre site and central public open space surrounded by colleges of various disciplines.  The space serves as the major pedestrian corridor on campus connecting the Student Union to the transportation "Hub”.  The Reitz Union is currently in the conceptual phase of a 100,000 square foot addition, thus becoming an opportunity for our design to influence the entrance of the Student Union.

Methodology & Design

Student input was sought through a four-hour participatory event to engage students in dialogue about stormwater and listen to what they envisioned for the Reitz Lawn.  Student input at this event revealed areas of the lawn needing our focus, as well as the most frequently travelled routes.  Students expressed a desire to keep the spacious lawn but wanted to see more activity there, and were generally interested and open to ideas about daylighting stormwater through the space.  Many, however, couldn’t visualize what that would mean.

Three points of intervention were identified to intercept the underground conveyance network and daylight the system.  Hydrologic modeling and design teams worked in collaboration to achieve a design which would maximize the user experience, successfully manage the stormwater in a daylighted system, and serve as a demonstration which could be replicated throughout campus.

Stormwater is collected from four rooftops and celebrated on its ‘journey’ through the site, through disconnected downspouts and water harvesting, naturalistic bioswales, infiltration planters, rain gardens and sheetflow.  Permeable surfaces are used generously to promote infiltration.  Two natural water bodies on the site are given more visibility for increased user understanding of the journey of water.

The hydrologic modeling evaluation reveals that the bioswale can successfully manage the stormwater discharge without reaching full-bank condition or flooding for up to two consecutive 100-year storms.


Dr. Mark Clark, University of Florida, Soil and Water Science

 David Connor, David Connor and Associates, RLA, ASLA

 Bahar Armaghani, Linda Dixon, Chuck Hogan, Erik Lewis, University of Florida, Facilities, Planning and Construction

 Anna Prizzia, Director of the UF Office of Sustainability 

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MISSION STATEMENT Leading, educating, and participating in the careful stewardship, wise planning, and artful design of our cultural and natural environments.