In a recent radio interview with ESPN 850 WRUF, Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley shot down the notion that Florida has fallen behind other schools in terms athletic facilities. Foley pointed towards recent renovations to the baseball and football facilities as well as two current projects the UAA is fundraising for.
While fans clamor for an indoor practice facility, Foley and the UAA have been raising money with a goal of $70-$75 million to completely renovate the Stephen C. O’Connell Center and the Office of Student Life, Florida’s academic center for all of its athletes.
The renovations to the O’Connell Center will be drastic, utilizing an estimated budget of $40-$45 million, with Foley saying the idea is to have people walk in and not recognize the O Dome once the remodel is done.
“Our intent is to gut it and build a new facility inside,” Foley said to ESPN radio. “People will not recognize it when they go inside, that’s the goal.”
The O’Connell Center is overdue for a facelift. The last upgrades came in 2006 when four video bard were added. Foley plans to meet with the board of directors in June and soon after meet with architects to begin the endeavor, which will take just under a year to complete.
That means Billy Donovan and the Gator basketball team could be without a building to call home for some time.
At the SEC meetings in Destin, Florida, Foley outlined the timeline for the massive renovation and what it will mean for the basketball team.
Foley said project would begin after next season, run ’til Jan. 2016. #Gators would play in Jax, Orlando, Tampa until completion .
— Edgar Thompson (@osgators) May 28, 2014
Donovan told reporters in Destin that he would hope to play two games over three days in those cities. The last time Florida played a regular season game in Orlando it came in a loss to UCF during the 2010-11 season. Florida drew solid crowds during the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament in Orlando this past season and would likely draw large crowds during a barnstorming type schedule.