The University of Florida on Tuesday announced the schedule for a planned renovation of the Stephen C. O’Connell Center as well as some specifics about what improvements will be made to the facility by the time it is completed in the winter of 2015.
According to the school, Florida is already “in the process of choosing a firm to design the project” and hopes to pick one soon in hopes of getting construction on the 33-year-old facility started in nine months.
O’Dome renovations will begin in March 2015 and conclude in December 2015 with the project set at a price tag of $45 million. The school has already signed off on a $10 million contribution to the project with the University Athletic Association tasked with raising the remaining $35 million.
Athletic director Jeremy Foley mentioned in May that the Gators are still $15 million away from their overall fundraising goal.
The following are among the renovations scheduled to be made to the facility:
» “Prominent main entrance” between Gate 1 and Gate 2
» Club seating and club lounge
» Chair-back seats, permanent in the lower level
» “Center-hung, high-definition video board and new sound system”
» New concourse and concession stands
» New offices and locker rooms
» Updated “mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems”
The O’Connell Center currently seats 11,548 but its capacity is expected to decrease due to changes inside the bowl.
The last major renovations made to the main bowl of the facility were a $2.5 million project that installed four 12’ x 16’ video boards in December 2006 and separate $900,000 project that reconfigured some lower level seating during the summer of 2011.
UF unveiled a renovated gymnastics studio in December 2012, which expanded the area to 18,000 square feet (adding 6,600 square feet) while upgrading offices, training rooms, equipment and electronics at a cost of $4.5 million.
Foley has previously spoken about the Florida men’s basketball team playing its fall non-conference home games across the state in 2015 though no specific plan has been laid out for the other sports that will be affected by the O’Dome’s 10-month closing. The Gators volleyball team is not expected to play a single home game in 2015.
Check out additional mockups of the scheduled renovations published by The Gainesville Sun when the project was first announced in 2012.