Renderings released of Stephen C. O’Connell Center redesign not from winning firm

By Adam Silverstein
July 1, 2014

Updated on Tuesday at 12:30 p.m.

Architectural firm NBBJ on Tuesday shared with Sports Illustrated three renderings of its upcoming $45 million renovation of the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

Unfortunately, according to the Florida Gators, NBBJ did not win the contract for the redesign of the O’Dome and the renderings showcased nationally on are not what the venue will look like after construction is completed in December 2015.

The University Athletic Association then announced that Davis Architects and CPPI Construction Management, working in conjunction with TLC Engineering, just began design meetings with the school on Tuesday.

Though Davis Architects’ portfolio is not as modern as NBBJ’s work, the firm based in Birmingham, Alabama, has more experience designing collegiate athletic facilities, mostly within its home state.

The company built UAB’s Blazer Stadium (Birmingham), Auburn’s Auburn Arena (Auburn) and Alabama’s Coleman Coliseum (Tuscaloosa), and also performed two end zone expansions on Bryant-Denny Stadium (Tuscaloosa).

Davis Architects completed the $4.5 million renovation of the O’Dome’s gymnastics studio in December 2012, expanding the area to 18,000 square feet (adding 6,600 square feet) while upgrading offices, training rooms, equipment and electronics.

CPPI designed and constructed the $52 million expansion of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, adding 3,000 seats to a new club level in 2012. It is also responsible or the construction for the stadium’s west concourse renovations, sky box additions and Heisman Trophy statue installation.

Furthermore, CPPI built the Heavener Football Complex, Ring Tennis Complex, basketball practice facility, entire lacrosse facility and indoor tennis facility; it also and made additions or renovations to the baseball locker room, Lemerand Center, softball complex, golf club house and swimming & diving facility.

Construction on the multipurpose venue is not scheduled to begin until March 2015.

When the concept for the project was first announced in 2012, the renderings below were released by the University of Florida to The Gainesville Sun:

Athletic director Jeremy Foley expects the renovation of the 33-year-old facility to make it capable of lasting another 30-40 years but explained in June that the University of Florida is still approximately $15 million away from reaching its fundraising goal.

The following are among the renovations scheduled to be made to the venue:
» “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.

Many of Florida’s fall sports will be forced out of the O’Dome for the latter half of 2015 due to the renovations. Gators men’s basketball is expected to go on a barnstorming tour of the state, playing a number of non-conference “home” games in Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and South Florida. Women’s basketball, volleyball and swimming & diving will also be affected.

Below are two other renderings supplied by NBBJ to SI:

Photo Credits: Sports Illustrated / NBBJ


  1. Tractorr says:

    Wait so none of these are actually concepts? The one at the top looks great. So does the upper of the last two. The last one looks too Tron to be real. The ones in the middle look very bland.

  2. SW FL Joe says:

    I can see why they didn’t get the job. Thing looks like a flying saucer out of a “B” grade science fiction movie. The last picture shows a full liquor bar and wine glasses on the tables. Bet Machen had a fit when he saw that.

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