When the people behind Scorpio Corporation approach a construction project, the heart of what they do is focused on the people who will be occupying and using the space. Instead of just looking at bricks and mortar, their first question to their clients is simple, “HOW will this be building will be used and WHO will be using it?”
“We actually start at the end when we study a building project and preparing a proposal for clients,” said Jennifer Denault, marketing director at Scorpio Corporation. “We view it as a holistic approach to construction. We like to talk to all the types of people who will be using this building and what is needed for them. We look at each individual project through a user-centered experience.”
This approach served them well on a recently completed construction project—the University of Florida College of Education library 34,000 square foot renovation. The library had not seen any refurbishments since it opened in 1980. Instead of simply speaking to the building facility employees, Scorpio invested time in speaking to librarians who really understood the needs of both those who worked there and who used the building.
In addition to better light, new carpet and furniture, and more electrical outlets, the library features new spaces including a computer lab, group study rooms and a teacher production lab. The new space is also outfitted with computers on the second floor and comfortable seating areas throughout the space.
In addition to the library, other facilities that Scorpio has completed since its founding in 2013 include the UF Career Connections Center Expansion and Renovation, Santa Fe College International Center, UF Cancer Research Teaching Lab Basic Science Building Renovation and the UF Sigma Kappa Sorority House, the latter of which was most recently voted by Cosmopolitan Magazine as one of “The 22 Most Stunning Sorority Houses in America.”
Ongoing projects include UF College of Education’s Norman Hall Historic Rehabilitation and Expansion, which the College of Education administration has been seeking legislative funding for the much-needed project for many years. The project will transform the stately but aging, red-brick building, a collegiate Gothic-style structure built in 1934.
Scorpio is honored to be the company chosen to help carry on the legacy of this historic building, Denault said. The aesthetics will reflect the building’s original historic architectural design. Updates to the structures will provide technological advancements needed for education training. The program includes the rehabilitation of the 80,000 square feet Historic Norman Hall, the addition of a new College of Education Conference Center and the renovation of the 8,000 square feet Norman Hall Office Building, including Norman Hall Auditorium.
“The leaders and champions behind this project have faced such an uphill battle in obtaining funding for this much-needed rehabilitation project,” Denault said. In 2017, the Florida Legislature earmarked nearly $29 million in funding for the long-needed improvements. “We are dedicated to helping UF preserve the historic nature of its buildings because it is so important to our community.”
Another major project underway is the UF Katie Seashole Pressly Softball Stadium renovation and expansion, which will consist of 360-degree open seating connected across the entire stadium with open views to the field and viewing areas located along the outfield walls. There will be a new press box and the open concourse will allow for better access and additional shade for fans seated behind home plate. More shaded areas will allow for a more comfortable fan environment. Overall seating capacity will also be increased to 2,280 with more chair backs.
Part of what makes the Scorpio approach different is how they explored the renovations and expansion of Pressly Stadium, which included consulting with a former softball player in developing their proposed plans for the project. The player had traveled to softball stadiums around the world and provided valuable input into ideas for their proposal, which is part of what makes the Scorpio approach different, Denault said.
Other current Scorpio projects include multiple projects with HCA North Florida Regional Medical Center and Santa Fe College, the Delta Gamma Sorority house, and the UF Reitz Union auditorium expansion. Past community projects have included Boys and Girls Club Phase One Renovation and the Florida FFA Headquarters Renovation.
Denault said Scorpio is a proud member of the Greater Gainesville community, and they enjoy using their vision of a “community-centered” construction approach.
“Our values and internal culture are at the heart of what we do. We embody those values with every client we work with and every project we undertake. We enjoy working with local subcontractors and keeping those dollars in the community,” Denault said. “We are involved with no less than a dozen community partnerships through charities, sponsorships and participation in community events. This community is very important to us.”
By Tracy Wright