The college shared the school building with its K-12 lab school until 1958, when P.K. Yonge moved a few blocks south to its current campus. A year earlier, in anticipation of the move, the UF campus building had been renamed after James W. Norman, who served as dean of the College of Education from 1920-1941.
Friday’s event included an appearance by the UF marching band drum line, the traditional ceremonial dirt toss with golden shovels, a roster of dignitaries and a few brief speeches highlighting the colorful and impactful history of Norman Hall, and details about the top-to-bottom rehabilitation of the 84-year-old edifice.
Speakers included UF President Kent Fuchs, College of Education Dean Glenn Good, Florida Congressman Ted Yoho, former Florida Congressman John Mica (BAE ’67), UF Trustee Anita Zucker (BAE ’72), COE Associate Dean Tom Dana and project lead architect Joe Walker of Walker Architects.
Ghost stories were not a part of the program. Norman Hall, besides holding fond memories of former students and instructors from both the college and P.K. Yonge, also has been rumored for decades to be haunted by the ghosts of several P.K. Yonge schoolchildren who supposedly died many years ago in an elevator accident. (No documentation or living eyewitnesses can be found to verify the story.)
Believers may wonder if any such ghosts will stick around during all the banging and crashing noise from the renovation work. Or, maybe, they will like their new haunts. Much of the restored building will still be easily recognizable, according to Tom Dana, associate dean of the College of Education who oversees the building rehab project from the college’s side.